Is AI Putting Women’s Careers At Risk?

Artificial Intelligence, automation and accelerated digitization of work are destroying roles that have been women’s forte for decades. Workplace disruption since COVID-19 has meant that it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap. This article takes a deeper look at this problem and its possible solutions.

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Adaptiv

Adaptiv

W
hat is the Gender Gap and why are we talking about it? The World Economic Forum defines gender gap as “the difference between women and men as reflected in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments or attitudes.” The global Gender Gap Index measures this disparity in 4 areas: health, education, economics and politics.

 

In education the gap refers to the lack of access to higher education, while health examines life expectancy and access to health care. In politics, it measures the representation of women in decision-making organizations. In economics, the gender gap is seen in the difference in salaries, and the difference in participation of women in certain roles.

According to the latest report by World Economic Forum, published in March 2021, it will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide. The pandemic has only aggravated the situation by taking away some of the opportunities that had opened up in the previous years.

LinkedIn, the International Labour Organisation and Ipsos, have all reported that unemployment in women shot up, while hiring of women in leadership roles showed a sharp decline in 2020. The wide-scale automation and digitization of work, accelerated by the arrival of the pandemic has also contributed to the gender gap at the workplace.

How does the gender gap affect the role of women in the future of work?

More than 80% of organisations accelerated adoption of automated processes and pushed towards more digitization over the last year, which is going to lead to the disappearance of several roles over the next few years.

Given the lower participation of women in roles requiring technical skills, such as engineering and computing, this is going to make it even more difficult for women to bridge the gap.

An analysis of the job clusters of the future, reveal that women have very poor representation in future-proof roles such as AI specialist, cloud consultant, data scientist, growth manager, or even digital marketing manager. There is, however, a very high representation of women in content creation, social media and human resources.

The rapid strides being made by AI powered text generators (GPT2 and GPT3), automated translation, and platforms making it easier to create and share social media assets are going to lead to the disappearance of roles in content creation and social media. Several functions in HR are also getting automated, leading to higher competition for the few remaining roles. What does this mean for women?

If women aren’t provided greater access to opportunities, allowing them to upskill and acquire the necessary digital and technical skills for the future, they will find themselves relegated to the back.

At Adaptiv, we are working to help young people identify and choose the right path based on their core strengths and skills. If content is your core skill, our platform will prepare you for a future-proof role in content creation, more aligned to future-ready industries like cryptocurrency, space travel, chat bots, or even drones. Our micro-learning modules also enable young women to bridge their skill gap, by acquiring digital and technical skills required to level the playing field and have a fair chance at competing in the post-COVID workplace.

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