The development of automation and artificial intelligence in industries across Canada is changing the way that organizations do business. These advancements will create significant barriers for Canadian employees, especially women, who already face a number of hurdles in the workplace. So, it is essential that employers mitigate these challenges by ensuring women are able to excel in the fourth industrial revolution. How will your organization build a workplace that works for women?
Gender Equality Challenges that Must be Solved Today
1. Increase women’s access to STEM education and training: Women are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math
occupations due to ingrained gender biases, stereotypes and shortage of women role models in STEM. Therefore, businesses must break down these barriers and level the playing field to empower and attract more women into these roles.
2. Be prepared for job disruption: The fourth industrial revolution will create new job opportunities, change job requirements and force many jobs to disappear. These shifts will impact women within and across organizations and sectors. It is imperative that businesses prepare for these changes and ensure their female employees receive proper training and resources to ensure a smooth transition into new roles and opportunities.
3. Transform gender equality commitment into action: Although there has been progress in improving gender equality in the workplace, there has been a stall in momentum. In order to see a future where gender equality is the business norm, organizations must set aggressive goals and targets to ensure that gender equality challenges are addressed as a top priority.
How Can the Private Sector Prepare for the Future?
1. Invest in STEM skills development: To reduce the technical skills gaps between men and women, businesses should incorporate STEM skills into training and development programs for all employees. Providing women with this training will equip them with the knowledge and skills to obtain, remain and shine in STEM positions.
2. Develop transition plans: The advancement of technology will fundamentally change the ways that employees do their jobs. Organizations should identify where women may be at a higher risk of losing their jobs and develop mitigation strategies to ensure that they are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to help them transition into new roles.
3. Review, assess, and improve: Businesses should review their gender-disaggregated data to assess gender equality performance and set goals and targets, which will help to track progress and ensure accountability. In addition, businesses can develop or improve current policies and initiatives that will create gender-equal workplaces where women can achieve their objectives.