There is a common misconception that Gender Equality is an issue that only affects women. But, when half of the human population are unable to reach their full potential, the whole world is arguably losing out.
In the World Economic Forum’s annual report, the organisation benchmarks 144 emerging countries’ development towards gender equality, called The Global Gender Gap Report. The report examines the differences between men and women in four key categories: health, education, economics, and politics.
According to the analysis, women across the globe experience gender wage gaps, and the United Nations estimates that with the current rate, it will take another 100 years to close the pay gap!
This data is only focusing on the monetary aspects of the gender differences, which excludes factors such as sexual harassment to cultural stereotypes with regards to gender norms.
And, on that note, the report also forecasts that it will take 108 years until we’ve achieved overall gender parity, but 202 years until we’ve reached full equality in the workplace!
In a world where transformation is all around us, one can simply not accept these results as facts; more needs to be done to address inequality and act towards gender equality.
With the speed at which the world of technology is evolving, not only are we now more receptive to change in general, but it seems as if technology is also now becoming instrumental in tackling gender differences and empowering women. This is how:
1.Gender-blind recruitment tools.
Innovative recruitment tools specifically designed to flag gender-biased expressions, that may put off potential candidates. For example, research shows that phrases such as ‘’driven by’’ and ‘’ambitious goals’’ resonates more with men, whilst ‘’collaboratively’’ and ‘’being heard’’ are more appealing to women.
Furthermore, machine learning enables HR professionals to map candidates’ profiles based on job descriptions, which puts both women and men in the same position when considered for a role.
2. Contingency in the workplace.
There are various excuses that can explain the gender pay gap, with one popular explanation being the role of women as caregivers. Indeed, studies show that there is a correlation between women’s pay drop and the birth of their first child.
This becomes somewhat of a catch 22 – due to the perception that mothers would have a decreased ability to take on greater work-related responsibilities, they are less likely to get offered jobs which require travel and long hours. However, ambitious caregivers who look for new ways of work, such as remote work or flexible hours, often experience little or no flexibility from their employer.
As technology evolves, new doors open that can help with this problem. An emerging contingent workforce is breaking down physical, geographical and social barriers in the workforce, and new platforms are now allowing women (and men) to access exciting opportunities on a remote basis, whilst still letting their employers manage their staff with both transparency and accountability.
Additionally, mobile computing can connect the workforce on a global level, which enables healthy competition as well as collaboration opportunities across markets.
3. Digital ways of learning.
Furthermore, new digital learning tools also play a huge role in educating leaders of tomorrow. The market for learning platforms seems to be never-ending, which is providing a massive perk to not only to women but to anyone who is looking to learn and develop.
4. A gender shift in leader positions.
As times are changing, naturally so too are the ways that we work. Imagine about only 250 years ago, when most of today’s workload was manual – trees were chopped up with an axe and the fastest thing on earth was a galloping horse!
New technology has created new job descriptions and, with this shift of workload, there is also an inevitable shift in our perception of a leader – from command and control of structure, to being a source of inspiration and coaching. Both these traits require high level of both emotional intelligence – traits that some may say resonate better with the female workforce.
Dinosaur stereotypes of female leaders are sadly still around but are fought with statistics. According to KPMG’s first Global Female Leaders Outlook report, female leaders are confident in making their decisions based on data and facts. They adapt and feel comfortable with new technology and business impacts, as well as driving the usage of application of data analysis within their companies.
In conclusion, although we have come a far way in our initiative to closing the gender gaps, there is still a long way to go. It is important that organisations are actively implementing diversity in all aspects of their businesses. Getting educated and understanding the female workforce, as well as being prepared to listen and to change, is crucial in order to benefit from the knowledge and opportunities that a diverse workforce has to offer.
We must remember that whilst digital transformation is giving tools to support both diversity and equality, is it the people who create change. Inclusion must be implemented at an organisational level, whilst the right technology is supporting it – not the other way around.