For employees in the automation industry there is always a risk of being replaced by a labour saving machine. Some say that future technologies could be a breakthrough for working women, vaulting them into new opportunities and decreasing the gender gap, while some believe it could leave women even further behind.
A recent research at the McKinsey Global Institute predicts automation to displace both men and women equally, but also offer new jobs and opportunities, however the studies also highlight the fact that women will need more effort to adapt because of the barriers and stereotypes they face.
If automation proceeds it is likely to be similar to the past disruptions in the industry, where for example: there was no need to calculate or write manually, you could rather use a computer that eventually replaced dozens of men and women who were doing the same job.
The research shows that more than 20% of employed women today could expect their job to be displaced by new tech by 2030. Thus it also allows the same percentage of women to find new created jobs in new occupations and sectors but already with the help of automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
And today these occupations and sectors are highly divided into genders, where more than 90% of secretaries, cashiers, administrative assistants, receptionists, accountants are women. Men have also professions they are reluctant to enter such as : nursing, teaching in school, child caring, auditing, maiding or being a retail retail salesperson and all the mentioned above.
None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children.
Why have economic participation and opportunity for women regressed is a fault of women’s under-representation in emerging roles. For example in programming, just 12% of professionals are women. Similar to these important industries like engineering and Data and AI, the numbers are lowly 15% and 26% respectively.
The problem that the “World Economic Report” tries to agitate in front of people is the potential loss of progress and growth in the economy, which affects the progress of such areas as: technology, politics and according to “National Geographic” – especially agriculture because women who could bring new ideas and solutions to current challenges in developing artificial intelligence – as a whole and global peace, are held back by certain stereotypes and extra obstacles that men do not usually face.
And even though automation in technology and agriculture makes it easier for women to occupy these spaces, there are still problems due to lack of access to land, financing, suitable working conditions, agricultural education and training, and equal treatment.
How does the world tackle these challenges posed by gender imparity (inequality), If only a handful of countries like: Iceland Norway, Finland, Sweden, Nicaragua and New Zealand achieve a maximum gender index of only 88%?
Solutions people demand.
The public reports say that the policy makers should take their numbers into consideration and urgently offer more economic empowerment and opportunities to women.
So immediate actions are encouraged by the specialists who measure gender gaps because according to a global economic report, economic participation and opportunity are the only two dimensions where the progress has regressed. The gender parity is at a lowly 57,8% which means that none of our kids or grand grandkids will ever see women have the same opportunities as men in the next 257 years.
Women graduating from universities are not so interested in pursuing these occupations due to current strong stereotypes where a female is supposed to take care of the family and sacrifice her interests and wills in favour of keeping the household intact. This female role-model of a housewife has slowly graduated after 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of major conflicts in the world. Because in the past governments preferred to keep men and women equal, thus maximising their firepower and economic growth, so women were not held back from entering battles or working in factories but were actually encouraged to do it.
Countries like: Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Mauritania, Bangladesh, Albania are still developing and they have one of the lowest percentages of women in agriculture, technology and politics.
Why track the progress
The reason to track and measure gender parity (equality) and gender pay gap in the first place is to create global awareness of the challenges posed by it, and the opportunities created by reducing gender disparities.
According to a Global Gender Gap Index that measures gender-based disparities across 149 countries, Women have as much access to financial services as men in just 60% of the countries and to land ownership in just 42% of the countries assessed.
Only these numbers are a mounting evidence that lack of gender equity imposes huge economic costs because it decreases productivity and slows down growth.
Women in automation in Baltic States
According to Eurostat which is the statistical office of the EU more than 70% of the female population in the baltic countries are employed.
Baltic countries have one of the highest percentages of women in the automation industries in the EU, where Estonia has 25%, Latvia 30% and Lithuania a whopping 58% of female employees.
Compared to the UK, Austria, Switzerland and Germany that is a huge improvement in the gender gap where in those countries they average 12-13% of female employees in the same occupations.
And compared to developing countries, Baltic States have tremendous advantage in appealing to female youngsters with higher potential for income in the arising in the automation industry occupations.