Since Tinder launched in 2012, the dating world has never been the same. Its revolutionary swiping system changed how singles interact with one another online by allowing both parties to invite conversation with those select daters.

By 2014, Tinder had matched over 12 million people and processed over 1 billion swipes every day. That same year, Whitney Wolfe, one of Tinder’s six co-founders, left the company to start a feminist dating app called Bumble. This dating app switched up dating’s traditional gender roles in heterosexual relationships by permitting only single women to send the first message after a mutual match has been made. Single men have to sit in the backseat, so to speak, and let women drive.

However, not all women like to drive, and those who do may not want to drive every time. Feminism is about letting women make their own choices, not forcing them to take on roles they don’t want. Tinder recognizes this and has developed an optional ladies-first feature to give single women the freedom and flexibility to meet people on their own terms.

Sending a Message: Ladies Choose to Put Themselves First

Going forward, Tinder will support a woman’s choice to be the one to initiate online chats — but only if that’s what she wants to do. She can be pursued or do the pursuing on the app. It’s ladies choice.

This is part of a recent push by the Match Group, Tinder’s parent company, to make its online dating platforms more female-friendly. “You have to solve for women’s experiences in order to have a robust positive ecosystem,” said Match Group Inc’s Chief Executive, Mandy Ginsberg, in an interview with MarketWatch.

The new feature will not be a default setting. Female users will have to turn it on if they want to send a message to potential dates. Once the ladies-first feature is on, that user won’t receive messages from anyone she hasn’t messaged first. She can start conversations on her own time and keep her matches from overwhelming her inbox with “heys” and “sups.”

If she doesn’t like breaking the ice every single time, then she can switch off the ladies-first feature and allow her matches to send the first message if they so choose.

With the addition of this new feature, women can essentially have a choose-their-own dating experience. They can choose what messaging system they’re comfortable with and have the best of both worlds.

“Often, women don’t really want the pressure of kicking off the conversation, but if they want it, that’s great,” Mandy explained. “Giving people the choice versus telling people how to engage is the big difference.”

The Dating Company Strives to Empower Women

Tinder serves a diverse global audience of about 50+ million people in 196 countries. Not everyone on here is looking for the same things or wants the same experience, so it makes sense that the app would want to provide optional features to satisfy different dating needs.

By launching its ladies-first feature, Tinder has empowered single women to be the gatekeepers of their inboxes. They can potentially limit the number of cheesy pick-up lines they see and, at the same time, keep men from wasting time on a dead end. This is a bold move for a dating app known for its free-for-all approach to romance — and it’s only the beginning.

“To our sisters of the world, we say this: Live as you choose and make no apologies.” — Tinder

Recently, Tinder has taken steps to show itself as an ally to women in the fight for equality. In March 2018, Tinder announced it would donate up to $200,000 to UN Women in recognition of International Women’s Day. The company pledged to give $100 for every tweet with #TinderForEquality.

Match Group’s CEO stated that Tinder’s ladies-first feature and other feminist projects havenothing to do with outside competition and everything to do with internal statistics and discussions — but it’s hard not to draw a comparison to Bumble.

“Tinder’s move to offer a Bumble-like option could have an impact on the so-called female-friendly dating app,” speculated a TechCrunch article.

When asked her thoughts on Tinder’s feminist shift, Bumble’s CEO said, “We applaud any company making business decisions that empower women.”

Tinder Aims to Make Online Dating Female-Friendly

Tinder sees over 10 times as many monthly users as Bumble does, and, according to Apptopia, the app is significantly more profitable than any of its competitors. But that doesn’t mean the company is satisfied with standing still.

In the coming years, Match Group Inc. wants to build on Tinder’s widespread success by creating innovative and helpful features, like the ladies-first option, to improve the online dating landscape one swipe at a time.

The dating app’s newly designed feature will give female users the power to choose what’s right for them — which gets to the core of what it means to be a feminist.

To use the words of a 2017 Tinder blog post, “To our sisters around the world, we say this: Live as you choose and make no apologies. Always look out for one another. Stay strong, be bold, and keep on fighting the good fight. Because now, more than ever, it’s time to rock the boat.”