Over the past decade, there have been several strategies implemented by businesses, governments, and non-government organisations with the aim of achieving gender equality by 2030. The most sustainable strategies are the ones that have proven to have a long-term impact in empowering women economically and socially. According to research, the use of technology is imperative in extending financial and social services, healthcare, education, and asset ownership.
Utilising technology to advance gender equality and empower women is not only vital for women and girls but critical for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Let’s explore some examples. The growth in digital financial services, thanks to technology, is gradually reducing the economic gap between men and women. AI-based techniques that have been used in predicting the identity of the user by building it into the app and adding additional validation when needed, makes it easier for women to use online money transfer and products. Additionally, social payouts that are cash-based have been successfully delivered to their beneficiaries with the help of digital platforms- reducing leakages and corruption. With regard to healthcare, AI and automation of routine tasks have eliminated a lot of bureaucratic procedures, which has lowered hospital costs.
The use of online platforms has empowered women to request information privately and have autonomy over health care decisions and results. Lastly, in terms of education, learning materials that are accessible through apps and online platforms are being used to bring technical and business education to women who may already be working. This is increasing access to finance and job market knowledge and promoting women’s labor force participation.
Therefore a great approach to tackle gender inequality is to capitalise on information communication and technology tools in improving the lives of women and girls in our societies.
Alternatively, businesses that want to impact gender equality, usually result in training programs on gender, diversity, and inclusion. Nonetheless, these strategies do not all result in positive outcomes. According to the Harvard Business Review, businesses that use biased training and mentorship programs to improve their cultures for women often fell short of their goals. This was because to effectively change a company’s culture, the mindset of the individuals within the organisation had to properly tackle unconscious biases. As such, training programs that focused on training men to be less susceptible to the confines of gender roles and the traditional perception of women were more effective. Similarly, women who were taught to be more assertive and demonstrate valued skills faced fewer biases in the workplace.
Technology might not completely bridge the gender inequality gap but it is a great enabler in establishing an effective approach in addressing SDG 5 and sustainable development on the whole.