180 million female jobs at high risk, says IMF

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International Monetary Fund (IMF), says unless urgent policies to endow women with required skills, close gender gaps in leadership positions and bridge digital divide that would benefit women, 180 million females are at high risk of being displaced globally.

The IMF in its report, “Gender, Technology and the Future Work”, said globally, 11 per cent of women were at risk of losing their jobs due to advances in computer technology, while only four per cent of the male population faced the same risk.

The IMF President, Ms Christine Lagarde, who discussed this at a panel discussion on “Empowering Women in the Workplace” at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia, said  less well-educated and older female workers aged 40 and above, as well as those in low-skill clerical, service, and sales positions are disproportionately exposed to automation.

Also, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Mrs. Mulyani Indrawati, said adding more women into the labour force of an economy would reduce poverty and ensure prosperity.

She urged women to be role models at their places of work. “As women, we must strive to do extraordinarily well in other to set example for the younger generation.

“We also need to ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way,” she said.

The Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mrs. Vera Songwe, also said increased access to the Internet would bridge women’s skill gap.

“250 million fewer women than men in 2017 had access to the Internet. In Africa, 27 million fewer women access reliable and affordable Internet, which will help close the current digital divide,” Songwe said.

She also said higher female labour force participation could boost economic growth of a country. “Creating more and better opportunities for women to engage in paid work and a greater ability to control their income and assets can also contribute to stronger economic growth in emerging market and low-income economies,” she stated.

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