Address workplace gender inequality

LETTERS: The rapid expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital technology is altering the employment market.

It is also worsening gender inequality, resulting in women having to face new and formidable challenges.

Robotics and AI-powered technologies are automating more routine tasks, causing disruptions to established sectors and job categories, such as in retail, customer service and administrative support.

This disruption will result in widespread job losses and stagnating or falling wages.

Unfortunately, it is women who will bear the brunt of the disruption as they are overrepresented in these sectors, thus the drive for technology and automation will widen gender gaps in employment and salaries.

The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report warns that more than 15 per cent of male workers face layoffs, compared with 25 per cent of female workers.

Women are also underrepresented in jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines.

Women find it tougher to secure positions in high-growth, tech-driven areas and must adjust to changing work standards and skill needs.

The other challenge is that women are more likely to be carers, making it difficult for them to receive enough education and training they need to adapt to changing employment requirements.

Due to a lack of affordable childcare and work-life balance options, women are less likely to work and more likely to leave their employment.

When AI and digital technologies eliminate jobs, the issue of gender inequality must be addressed structurally and by balancing policies towards men and women.

We need more women in STEM disciplines and more diversity in tech sectors for everyone to enjoy equitable digital economic possibilities.

Work-life balance rules, affordable childcare, and access to continuous education and training can help women adjust to the changing employment market and recover from job loss.

If that can be done, we can ensure that technological growth benefits men and women more fairly by having an inclusive atmosphere in all economic sectors.


Faculty of Business and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Perlis

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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