Why SPF pays attention to the Future of Work for Women?
The outbreak of the new coronavirus has reduced economic opportunities for women, halting three decades of progress in narrowing the gender gap. According to the IMF, women are more likely than men to be employed in the informal sector in low-income countries, and economic inactivity has increased poverty among women (IMF Blog, "The COVID-19 Gender Gap" 21st July 2020).
The world we live in is drastically changing due to not only the new coronavirus but also recent development in technology. One such example is the change of “Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)”, featuring artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, has brought to our social infrastructure. It has been pointed out that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will fundamentally change not only industry, but also all aspects of work and life, putting those who do not possess the necessary digital skills at risk. In this regard, one existing global challenge is to provide skill-based training to women, who are currently more likely to be employed in the informal sector and are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) occupations.
Another new trend is the surge of "platform labor," also known as "on-demand work" or "gig work," a form of employment using digital work platforms that connect workers and employers on a need basis. Considering such changes in the way we live and work, and how the changes affect women’s economic empowerment, we plan to identify challenges and opportunities for women in future of work through research and dialogue. Based on findings, we will design our interventions to close the gender gap.
While some women are becoming economically empowered and improving their status due to the new era of economic activities, there are concerns about increasing polarization and disparities. Therefore, we are committed to taking actions and measures that can be catalysts for inclusive technology and innovation for women.