Gender equality and the future of work

What will the future of work look like? As the world embraces advances in technology, we stand to benefit from workplaces that can remove barriers that prohibited many from participating in the labour force, increase workplace flexibility and improve productivity and innovation.

But as we are talking about the future of work, we can’t ignore the influence emerging technology will have on workplace inequities and the intersection of gender and work. Women are under-represented in industries that produce technology design and function. Without diverse ideas and capabilities creating technology, we may be impacted in interactions with technology. Entrenching gender bias and exacerbating existing workplace inequity could come as a result.

Understanding these impacts will become increasingly important for the workplace as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence become common features in modern workplaces.

Technological advancements and gender intersect in four key areas:

  • Women in STEM fields – women continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematic fields.
  • Inequity through design – research has shown that the lack of diversity in the design of technology can lead to a bias towards men and mean that technology is less effective when utilised by women.
  • Automation and robotics - recent studies have suggested that approximately between 9-40% of Australian jobs are susceptible to automation. This automation will likely lead to job losses and will have the most impact on workers with lower levels of educational attainment.
  • Women and tech - while all workers will need to adapt to spending more hours working alongside automated technologies, it is likely that more women’s jobs will be displaced by automation. This could have a negative impact on the gains made in increasing women’s workforce participation.

The future of work must be inclusive for all. The Agency has commissioned an insight paper to address the debate around what the future of work might look like, all through a gendered lens.

Read the full report below: