Gender inequality is definitely not a new problem and despite the long strides, there is still a long way to go before it will finally be eradicated like according to UN we have to wait another 100 years to simply neutralize the gender wage gap in the current rate and 202 years to eliminate it totally according to the World Economic Forum. With the limited and differentiated access to the resources, information and opportunities resulting in dampening the potential of the half of the population struggling with the disadvantageous situations and keeping them in under privileged conditions restraining their participation in economic, social and political sphere depriving them of obtaining the leadership and their rightful place in the society is actually impeding the overall human growth and development and soon we realize that is the better for the future of human society.
Transformation and bringing change, by very nature technology support innovation and progress can be a powerful weapon to battle this malicious trend by empowering the women, narrowing the gender gap by facilitating the wider participation and greater access and multiple researches recognizing that higher economic participation of women can secure industry more revenue bolstering business growth and innovation which clearly demonstrate that achieving gender parity and more female representation no more only a case of human right but also an economic imperative to ensure maximum return and business benefits.
In a report from McKinsey & Company revealed women still constitute less than 40% of the global workforce and occupying only 25 % of the management positions globally carrying out 75% of the unpaid care work. Whereas according to research by the Kauffman Foundation 35% higher ROI was achieved by the technology companies which are managed by the women leaders though receiving only 10% of the investment. There are several other reports and data-driven researches that have proved undoubtedly the power of the female representation ensuring the success in industry endeavors like fortune 500 companies with women in the leading positions are clearly delivering higher returns than the one with only men in their board of directors and the trend is persistent globally as a PwC report has depicted that 32% campaigns that are managed by women leaders are more successful than the those which are led by men after collecting and examining data from the 450K crowdfunding projects from diverse range of sectors belonging to different geographical regions and cultures.
As technological progress and digital growth continues to transform the society depriving the women of education and technology access the gender imparity and digital divide continues to stay unresolved even worsening in the face of automation as the roles likely to disappear are held by women and the jobs in STEM-related sectors that are flourishing at a higher pace has lower women representation. Fewer female representation in technology and computing has become a concern itself. Also, the absence of access to the latest technology and the inability to use it making it harder to empower women digitally. In South Asia the women phone owners are 38% less than their male counterparts and in Sub-Saharan Africa, 45 % fewer women are enjoying the internet access than the men in the same region clearly blocking women to utilize the opportunities the digitization and the new technologies has brought forth for them and stalling their chance to progress.
Internet alone has the power to restore the gender balance by addressing disparities by establishing new and innovative ways to connect to each other ensuring, meaningful participation in economy, politics and in every societal aspect eventually help to redesign the hierarchy and representation. Mobile phones can augment her role in society by significantly increasing her access and reach. With less difficult technology and easier use, mobile phones and networks are enabling women to access to multiple services and with increasing connectivity ensuring their safety too.
Gender-sensitive approach in product and process development holds the real key to change as in the human resource de-biasing the sexist algorithm to enforce free and fair recruitment, retention, and promotion to create a more inclusive workforce or the fintech industries introducing products styled to fit the women requirements; these are the real influencer to start the transformation. To harvest the benefits of new technological developments more girls should be encouraged to pursue studies in STEM. Increase inclusion of more women leaders in the board of the technological enterprises and not only attracting more women to join but to retain them longer in the technological field will not only benefit women but also leverage the enterprises and the industry. We must not forget the half of the potential users or the customers are the women and also there are numerous studies that inclusion of women
To uncover the unsung potential of the women ensuring their complete participation and full representation the innovative and creative solutions must be employed enabling women to fight the barriers to enjoy the ‘digital dividend’ and according to the Solve to make that sure following actions are needed to be implemented.
- Improving the connectivity and technology access for women, particularly in underserved or underdeveloped areas
- Increase women’s financial inclusion through access to digital payments, savings, investment, and insurance
- Increase opportunities for dignified income generation in nontraditional sectors and through access to new supply chains and new markets
- Correct for bias and heuristics, whether in the workplace or within communities
Diversity especially the inclusion of women leads to better problem solving, greater efficiency and success ensuring increasing innovation and productivity and there is a large marketplace of female-oriented products and services that are untapped and lacking technology-driven innovation. Also, technology especially ICT has transformed the traditional workflow and the new location independent, flexible hours work schedules introduced is capable of accommodating the women’s need better considering their role as the primary caregivers. With more successful women entrepreneurs role models are plenty to inspire the next generation to aspire for the leading positions. Many organizations are also continuously trying to sensitize the governments, industry and other stakeholders and putting enormous efforts to encourage and promote growth to close the gender gap.
WebMatrix Technologies is an IT company offering a variety of services across the vertical believes in equality and excellence fostering diversity, inclusiveness, and belonging offering opportunity to its female talents to rise to the senior executive positions realizing their full potential.