The Women’s Forum Youth Lab: Tech4Women 2022
Let’s Leverage Tech to Reduce Gender Inequalities… TOGETHER!
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The Women’s Forum has been working on reducing gender inequalities and empowering women in crucial areas where they are disproportionately impacted by gender bias but where they can be leading forces: STEM, Health, Climate and Entrepreneurship.
Discover here our G7 Call to Action providing key facts and figures and recommendations for leaders to foster gender equality in these domains.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills account for 70% of the rapidly growing skills that are transforming the labour market.
However, women are systematically underrepresented in these fields, from education to careers:
- In G7 countries women represent 28% of STEM graduates, and 20% of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction (WEF, 2021).
- Women are 25% less likely than men to know how to leverage digital technology for basic uses in OECD countries (UNESCO, OECD & IDB, 2022).
Moreover, Artificial Intelligence is a powerful asset to remove existing gender disparities and shape a more inclusive world when it is designed by diverse teams and governed appropriately.
Tech solution can be developed to reduce gender inequalities in STEM fields, for instance for girls to discover STEM studies and jobs or to provide women with STEM skills to adapt to the evolving needs of the labour market.
Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women as it strengthens pre-existing gender inequalities. Indeed, women’s limited access to land, financial and technological resources but also to education, public services, social protection and mobility resources increase women’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters and decrease their ability to respond to environmental risks:
- Women are 14 times more likely than men to die during climate-related disasters (UN Women, 2018).
- Women represent 63% of the agricultural workforce in low-income countries most impacted by climate change (World Bank, 2021).
Despite being disproportionately impacted by climate change, women are under-represented in all climate-related policies and decision-making bodies preventing them from sharing their vision and putting forward their needs.
Tech solutions can be developed to increase women’s resilience to climate risks in specific regions, including related to agriculture and water supply, and foster women’s participation in decision-making bodies at the local and international level.
Women’s life expectancy is on average longer than men, however medical research often prioritises a male-specific approach at all stages. This results in a lack of knowledge and research related to female-specific diseases and the impact of common diseases on women:
- At the global level, only 12% of overall health spending from public and private sources is allocated to sexual and reproductive health (WHO, 2022).
- 1 in 10 women and girls of reproductive age are affected by endometriosis and the average diagnosis takes up to 8,5 years (WHO, 2021 and Van Zanden et al., 2021).
Moreover, gender inequalities are widespread within the medical workforce as women represent 70% of the global health and social care workers while 75% of leadership roles are held by men (WHO, 2019 & 2022).
Tech solutions can be developed to address women’s specific health needs, including related to sexual and reproductive health, as well as reduce gaps within the medical workforce by identifying and removing gender bias.
Find more information in our 2019 report on “Women & Access to health: addressing health barriers through technology”.
Women face persistent barriers when launching their own businesses such as gender discrimination, unequal access to fundings and a lack of guidance. As a result, women are not equally represented as entrepreneurs worldwide:
- There are around 224 million women entrepreneurs in the world, making up only 35% of the firms in the global economy (World Bank, 2018).
- Only 1% of private or public funding is allocated to women-owned businesses internationally (WeConnect, 2017).
However, supporting women entrepreneurship is essential as research has demonstrated that women-led and women-owned businesses are characterised by a focus on more long-term, positive environmental and social goals rather than short-term profit (McElhaney et al., 2012).
Tech solutions can be developed to remove barriers for women entrepreneurs directly linked to gender bias and support women in creating and developing their businesses, including women-owned companies with social impact.