According to a 2016 Accenture report on ‘Digitisation to narrow the gender gap’, it has been estimated that “iIf governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed nations and by 2060 in developing nations, instead of a 100 years if measured by current standards.”
In 2011, Girls Who Code (GWC), a not-for-profit organisation, was formed to improve the numbers of young women learning and being employed in technology programmes, especially in core positions and at leadership levels. Since then, it has introduced more than a million young women to IT and core science-related education, marking yet another huge step towards opening up new frontiers for women in industrial domains, where their participation was hitherto either nonexistent or insignificant.As GWC’s journey progressed, a quiet, yet revolutionary transformation was ongoing in the global business landscape. With tech-based solutions fast becoming the integral core of corporate operations, digital empowerment played a major role in reducing the prevalent gender inequality. As global business houses realised that women could click as fast and accurately as men, a growing number of them introduced strategies to encourage women participation in core areas of technology, investment, and business management.
Defining leadership and success
Multitasking, punctuality, efficiency, optimisation of resources, teamwork, allocation of responsibility, and maintaining accountability. Sounds like the KRA list of a senior business manager? Read again, and you will realise that’s what homemakers the world over have been doing for years, day in and day out, without so much as a bonus to show for it!
With their ability to juggle various responsibilities and a keen sense of priority, women can easily fit into leadership roles. Global corporate houses, having realised this fact, are consciously working towards increasing diversity in senior leadership roles. But there is immense scope for more inclusion as, according to a 2016 report, women still hold only 24 percent of senior roles across the world, a rise of only three percent since 2011.
Gender equality is not only socio-economically advantageous, but beneficial for the global economy as well. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, advancing women’s equality and their increasing participation can add as a much as $12 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. In a ‘full potential scenario’, where women have an equal participation in labour markets with men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to the global annual GDP.
Digitisation has, and will continue to play, a great role in increasing inclusivity of women in the business sphere. In fact, according to a 2016 Accenture report on ‘Digitisation to narrow the gender gap’, it has been estimated that “if governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed nations and by 2060 in developing nations, instead of a 100 years if measured by current standards.”
Strong communication and interpersonal skills have also contributed to an increasing acceptance of women in leadership roles. While communication is seen as the most important attribute of good leaders by both sexes, women are more likely to perceive this skill in terms of listening and engaging in two-way dialogue, while men are more likely to focus on broadcasting messages. Powered by an increasing array of tech-based solutions to enable constant dialogue with their employees, women entrepreneurs are creating more opportunities to build communities, and enabling marginalised sections of society, especially rural women, to carve out sustainable livelihood options. Numerous rural women entrepreneurs from India have established thriving startups, managing entire operation, distribution, and marketing through social media platforms and other tech-based solutions.
The age-old bottleneck of women not being ‘sturdy enough to handle the marketing rigor’ has been completely obliterated as, armed with a smartphone, the market is now just a few clicks away.
Technology: serving as the balancing pole in the work-family tightrope walk
Even a few years back, case studies of women entrepreneurs constructing a successful business from their homes were a rarity. Over the past few years, however, such stories have become more frequent. Smart devices have brought the world of internet closer to homemakers, while the e-commerce boom has ensured that these home-based entrepreneurs have access to the virtual spaces where the consumers are at. As a result, it has become easier for women to juggle between familial responsibilities and pursue their latent skills, talents, and hobbies to create value out of them.
From online music classes to cooking, fashion, or DIY tips, technology has handheld women to the summit of their entrepreneurial ambitions.
Women have always been the backbone of societies all over the world. More so in India, where almost 70 percent of womenfolk from rural households shoulder the burden of helping out their partners while taking care of the household chores as well. Essentially, these double-shifts have converted women into the ideal millennial employee – one who does not shy away from work, shirk from responsibilities, and yet manages to complete assignments on time! As we just celebrated ‘International Women’s Day’, it is important for us to identify our inner potential, and optimise it to the fullest with the aid of technology. It is important to let the world know that our ‘time is Now’!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)