Technology Could Widen the Gender Employment Gap: IMF

May 7, 20199:08 am
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Technology has always been seen as a great enabler that paves the path to economic progress for many countries around the world. However, recent report by International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that it also has a potential role in perpetuating major societal issue: gender employment gap.

According to the report, women might face a greater threat of losing their jobs to technology than their male counterparts. Up to 26 million women in major economies would be at risk of getting their jobs displaced within the next two decades, if technology continues to develop at its current rate. This means that 11 percent female workers are at risk of job disruption, compared to 9 percent of men. This could lead to a further widening of the pay gap between men and women, the report said.

The occupational divides seem to be the primary disparity, with women disproportionately represented in low-skilled, clerical and sales roles that are routine-heavy and therefore prone to automation. The report said that this could be attributed to “self-selection” — women choosing certain professions — as well as exposure.

“We find that women, on average, perform more routine or codifiable tasks than men across all sectors and occupations ― tasks that are more prone to automation,” the report’s authors wrote.

“Moreover, women perform fewer tasks requiring analytical input or abstract thinking (e.g., information-processing skills), where technological change can be complementary to human skills and improve labor productivity,” it added.

Meanwhile, the report also found oldest, less well-educated women to be at the greatest risk of job automation, adding that recent decades have seen more young women shift away from clerical and low-skilled occupations toward service and professional jobs, CNBC reports.

“Women are increasingly selecting into jobs that are more insulated from displacement by technology,” the report said.

“Gender automation gaps between men and women are smaller for younger cohorts even among workers facing the highest risk of automation (e.g., less-well educated, in clerical and sales positions).”

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