A new report from the World Economic Forum shows that it will take 135.6 years for the gender gap to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected people around the world, but a new report from the World Economic Forum shows that women are one of the most affected gender groups.
The WEF’s report titled “The 2021 Global Gender Gap Report” revealed that the epidemic has withdrawn gender equality for the whole generation. In particular, the report notes that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, closing the gender gap between men and women in various professional sectors will take 135.6 years, rather than the previously expected 99.5 years.
Gender equality in fast-growing professions
Vesselina Ratcheva, the new economy and society leader of the World Economic Forum, said that the “Global Gender Gap Report” is now in its 15th year comparing the evolution of gender gaps in four areas: Economic participation and opportunity; educational achievements; health and survival; and political empowerment.
Ratcheva also noted that the report focuses on gender equality in fast-growing professions such as cloud computing, engineering, artificial intelligence, content creation, people and culture, and the types of skills required for each. “Among the eight different business groups that the report focuses on, only people, culture and content production are currently gender equitable,” said Ratcheva.
While blockchain and crypto are not specifically mentioned in the report, Ratcheva explained that industries such as cloud computing, data, artificial intelligence, engineering, and product development are likely to strongly represent both the blockchain and digital asset professions. Therefore, Ratcheva noted that although women remain a minority in the blockchain industry, there is a higher level of female participation compared to other areas:
“Among these industries, the representation of women is on average 29%, and this could serve as an optimistic estimate of the level of female representation in the blockchain and crypto space, but coordinated efforts are still needed to achieve gender equality.”
Achieving gender equality after COVID-19
It is important to note that the “2021 Global Gender Gap Report” was published one year after the announcement of COVID-19 as a pandemic. The report notes that the health emergency and the associated economic crisis are affecting women more severely than men and widening gaps that could be closed sooner.
For example, the report revealed that women are now losing jobs at higher rates than men, based on the findings of the International Labor Organization showing that 5% of women have lost their jobs compared to 3.9% of men since the pandemic began. The report states:
This is partly due to its disproportionate representation in sectors that are directly disrupted by lockdowns, such as the consumer sector. Data from the United States also show that women from racial and ethnic groups that have historically been disadvantaged are worst affected. ”
Saadia Zahidi, general manager of the World Economic Forum, added that the epidemic has affected gender equality both in the workplace and at home and prevented years from progressing. “If we want a dynamic future economy, it is vital that women are represented in tomorrow’s jobs,” she said.
LinkedIn’s head of global public policy, Sue Duke, pointed out that women are still not well represented in many of the fast-growing roles, leading to further greater gender equality challenges.
To tackle these problems, Zahidi argues, both companies and governments should focus on getting involved in diversity, equity and improvement plans. “At the heart of this is evaluating candidates not only in terms of their direct work experience and formal qualifications, but also their skills and potential. Skill-based recruiting is key if we are to make our economies and societies more inclusive, ”he said.
Ratcheva explained that a two-pronged approach is needed to bridge the gender equality gap in fast-growing professions such as blockchain and crypto-related ones. She stated that it is critical to continue to build women’s pathways in the fields of science, technology and engineering. At the same time, he stated that this growth should be supported by wider diversity, equality and participation in workplaces, especially in areas where women are underrepresented, adding:
“It is important to send an important signal to women who want to move into professions in which they will not be underrepresented that there are mechanisms in place for their development and advancement. Without such assurances, we ask women to make an unreasonable investment in STEM skills. ”
Despite current challenges, it’s encouraging to see a number of blockchain and crypto companies take steps to engage women. For example, CEO of Stellar Development Foundation and
Managing director Denelle Dixon said one of the main factors in increasing women’s influence on the blockchain, and particularly in leadership roles, is education and representation.
Dixon explained that the Stellar Development Foundation is trying to educate women about the benefits of blockchain technology through frequent webinars and events.
“With a strong female leadership team, SDG demonstrates the importance of representation in emerging technologies for young women around the world.”
Ratcheva also pointed out that it is positive that governments and businesses find effective ways to achieve equality and meritocracy in employment, and that most economic data show that women gain the same educational qualifications as men.
With this in mind, Ratcheva believes the tech industry is ready to make gains in recruiting a larger share of women for senior management roles, and points out that there has been some progress in female representation in product development positions. Ratcheva recognizes, however, that more gender equality recovery strategies must be implemented to enable women to move into fast-growing, high-wage areas as businesses and governments seek to stimulate economies.
According to the report, the countries that made the most progress on this front were the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Lithuania. Ratcheva said, “The UAE has seen an increase in the number of women elected to parliament, as well as the share of women in leadership roles in business and public policies. New Zealand has made progress in gender equality remuneration and political empowerment for women, ”he said.