Preparing Women for the Future of Work
By admin March 8, 2019

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The disruptive transformation of the labor market for the future of work presents both opportunities and challenges for women.

Women could first face actual challenges before benefiting from technological advances: recent research shows that a larger proportion of the female workforce is at high risk for displacement. Women face higher risk of losing their jobs due to automation, with 26 million women’s jobs in 30 countries at high risk of being displaced by technology within the next 20 years. High automatability puts some occupations along with women, who historically report larger presence in those industries, at stake, especially those in the early and late stages of their career as well as women with lower levels of education.

Additionally, women remain underrepresented in the rapidly growing technology industries. A recent investigation conducted by the OECD found that young women, despite similar or even more years of schooling than men, are much less likely to study in the lucrative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and women’s increased labor force participation rates did not improve their status in the professional world to engage in paid work and hold business leadership positions.

The underlying lesson for the future of work is that professional and technical skills are becoming an increasingly important “safeguard” against the risk of automation. As most job growth has been focused on specialized knowledge, women could benefit from the implementation of proper vocational and professional training that aim to assist more women seeking to bridge the gap between their education level, and their knowledge and professional skills. This makes it crucial for countries to engage in the development of policy actions which aimed at removing barriers to lifelong learning.

Compared to traditional working environments, social, emotional and higher cognitive skills are considered to be of greater importance over the next few decades. While women show greater strengths in these skills, the shift in the labor market provides opportunities to improve gender equality in the workplace. Closing gender gaps, first, requires improving women’s access to new technologies and knowledge. As many women face literacy and affordability barriers due to higher levels of female poverty, which is more present in low- and middle-income countries, a key action will be for countries to enhance the affordability of the Internet supported by national connectivity policies in order for women to have better access to distance learning opportunities and other key resources that will allow them to successfully participate in the workforce.


For More Information

International Women’s Day Official Page

UN Women – International Women’s Day 2019

Women in Tech: The Facts

Going Digital: The Future of Work for Women

Women and the Future of Work: A Window of Opportunity in Western Europe?

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