With women’s day here, it is no surprise that the internet is full of posts about women reaching the pinnacle across different walks of life. However, according to the World Economic Forum, it will take about 108 years to reach gender parity. It is true that we still have a long way to go. However, there are a few developments that are boosting the journey towards gender equality. Besides growing awareness about the importance of #eachforequal, and greater sensitization about the socio- economic imperative of gender equality, technological developments deserve due credit.
Technological drivers of digital transformation including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, etc. have been advancing gender equality in more than one way. Each technological innovation brings with it several avenues of promoting equality and inclusion of women in our society. Following are the top 5 ways in which technology is boosting gender equality. They are also promoting the theme for this women’s day, Each for Equal.
Reducing Bias with AI
When women seek to enter the workforce, they are subjected to several biases during recruitment. This tilts the funnel of selection towards men, creating a gender imbalance. Women are vulnerable to be subjected to biases. These come from human emotions and experiences, that consider women as inferior to men for several roles. Enter, artificial intelligence. AI has the power to reduce the bias in selection and recruitment. It is an important step towards ensuring that women get their due chance to enter the workforce and prove their worth. Fortunately, AI does not have emotions or experiences. Thus, it would not indulge in developing an unconscious bias against women in order to get a self esteem boost.
Additionally, most selection procedures lack a standardized approach because each analogue interview is different. On the other hand, video interviews with the help of AI, have the capability to allow eligible candidates to go through the exact same experience. This ensures uniformity and prevents the chances of bias from creeping in. Therefore, AI has the potential to reduce bias in hiring. However, even this domain is not free from any glitches. There have been certain AI recruitment tools which have come to be biased against women. However, the problem there lies in programming. The right set of codes can be a step towards bias free hiring towards gender equality.
Accessibility in Learning with the Cloud
Even before women have the chance to enter the workforce, they have to traverse the challenges of getting quality education. Numerous families, especially from the lower socio-economic strata, are against the girls of their families getting a degree. Higher education becomes out of question, because sending the girls away is not the norm. However, technological innovations like cloud computing are bringing education to girls who cannot step out of their villages. With minimal digital equipment, girls are able to access world class content via cloud storage and video conferencing. While numerous girls were able to get access to some bit of primary education through community learning, specialization was only a dream.
Thanks to cloud storage, learning has become more accessible to these girls, boosting gender equality. In addition to accessibility, cloud also brings on the affordability aspect of education, which further boosts the gender balance. Costs of cloud storage and access can be shared among groups, thereby reducing the burden on any one individual.
Greater Opportunities with Remote Work
Next in line comes the expansion of opportunities that women can leverage, thanks to technology. The rise of remote work with the internet and the advent of several new roles are a step towards greater gender equality. More often than not, women in India are the primary caregivers. This prevents them from being actively involved in full time work roles, unless they have significant help at home. Technological innovations like the internet, emails, etc. are allowing more and more women to take up roles where they can work from home.
Additionally, video conferencing platforms like zoom and skype and other productivity tools are making it very easy for women to take up jobs without being physically present at their place of work. Therefore, technology is a big enabler for women to balance work and life, thereby boosting gender equality.
Advocacy through Social Media
One of the main reasons for the acceleration of gender equality in recent years has been the power of social media. Erstwhile, the instances of gender inequality seldom came to light, especially for the masses. This helped maintain the status quo. Since inequality was not explicitly visible to the public eye, it was not seen as an issue worth considering. However, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc have been instruments of awareness and advocacy. They are enabling women to ask for gender equality and real world change is coming.
Just take the case of the #metoo movement. It was only because of the reach and potential of social media that gender exploitation and inequality came to the forefront. Right from voicing out inequality, to mobilizing support to fighting it, to setting an example of battles women, social media is increasingly becoming a technological breakthrough for gender equality.
Inclusive Policy with Big Data
Last but not the least, one of the reasons for gender inequality in our country is also the policy insensitivity towards equality of all genders. For instance, violence in wedlock is not considered a crime, among others. In previous times, the direct rationale for such insensitivity was the lack of data points. However, the advent of big data and analytics has been an important step towards initiating an inclusive policy design. Government bodies and civil society organizations are increasingly leveraging the potential of big data. The objective is to identify the gaps in policy that are challenging gender equality in the country.
Even United Nations has been actively promoting the coming together of big data and gender issues to create a world of #eachforequal. Big data is helping the government and other organizations in bridging the legislative gaps in gender equality.
Gender Equality- #Eachforequal
At Recro, we believe that technology is a promising tool to bring about gender equality and lead the campaign towards #eachforequal. Like each of us can be a champion of gender equality, each technology comes with the same potential to change the skewed gender parity ratio.