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International Women's Day. A Push For Progress

Posted 2 years ago

International Women's Day.  A Push For Progress
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The working world has undergone radical change in the last 30 years thanks to technology and the internet. Remember faxes? Teletext? Dial up internet? When you only had a landline? Looking ahead the pace of change seems set to speed up further still.  For instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the workforce as some roles become obsolete and new roles are created. How, where and when we access technology also looks set to change. As does our understanding of it – just look at the current discussions around the influence and regulation of social media like facebook for some indication of what is to come.

What is interesting about all of these developments in technology is in theory at least they remove the gender bias from the workplace. In the past manual labour favoured men’s greater physical strength and clerical and managerial work favoured an educated worker with support at home – again, generally favouring men. Today it is different. Further education is no longer just for men. Work is more likely to feature a keyboard. Technology has made remote and flexible working possible, opening doorways to women who remain principle care-givers for whom flexible working is beneficial. There is no reason for men to be favoured over women, even if culturally that has yet to happen. Looking  ahead AI raises questions about the nature of work, about productivity, about where humans fit into the system – issues that are beyond gender, issues that affect us all.

There are some big questions being opened up by technology for individuals, corporations, Governments and society. And as these questions are examined it is a great opportunity to also question how to bring balance to gender equality in the work place.

It is undeniable that men dominate Fintech. It is equally undeniable that there is no physical reason why they should. Indeed, the flexible and remote working that technology companies can offer positively favours women, who remain the principle care-givers in society and as such can find a lack of flexibility discriminates against them. Which means the issue is cultural. It may begin at an education level, with women encouraged away from programming and business skills. But it pervades beyond that and companies should consider that gender mix is as important as the right mix of skills within their workforce, at senior and junior levels. Investors should consider this too. Based on research provided last year by Beahurst looking at smaller and start-up companies we know men find it easier to hit fund raising targets or acquire private capital investment than women. It is right that we are asking questions and seeking answers.

Tagged: International women's day Fintech

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