How technology is changing women's working lives
Elizabeth Stuart @ElizStuart – Head of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme, ODI
Ethel Cofie @womentechafrica – Entrepreneur and Founder, Women In Tech Africa (via videolink)
Abigail Hunt @AbieHunt – Lead researcher on women's economic empowerment, ODI
Chidi King @ituc – Director of the Equality Department, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Deputy to the ITUC Representative, UN High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment
Monica Raina @SEWABharat – Project Director, Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA)
Technology has long been linked to change in the world of work. As recognised by the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, new technologies offer huge potential to increase economic opportunities - from mobile and digital technologies which facilitate trade and access to local and global markets, to growth in hi-tech industries which create skilled jobs.
Yet technology’s ability to support women’s empowerment is not a foregone conclusion. Women face especially large barriers in accessing, using and owning technology, and the poorest can be excluded from technological change. Ensuring that all women are able to innovate and adapt to new technologies is critical if the promise to leave no one behind is to become a reality as the Sustainable Development Goals are implemented.
Marking the launch of new ODI research on mobile technology and domestic work, this critical discussion explored the impacts of technology on women’s working lives. It considered how technology can enable women’s paid work and secure livelihoods, and the implications of this for women’s unpaid care and domestic work. Panellists also reflected on how technology may exacerbate inequalities in women’s economic opportunities and outcomes as well as the strategies that can overcome these challenges.