The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people around the world, but a new report from the World Economic Forum says women have been among the most affected gender groups.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 notes that the pandemic has pushed gender parity back one generation. In particular, the report indicates that, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the gap between men and women in various professional sectors will now take 135.6 years, up from the 99.5 years previously projected.
Gender parity in fast-growing occupations
Veselina Racheva, chair of the World Economic Forum on the New Economy and Society, told Cointelegraph that the Global Gender Gap Report has identified the evolution of the gender gap for 15 years in four areas: economic participation and opportunities; education level. Health and survival; And political empowerment.
Racheva also noted that the report focuses on gender equality in fast-growing occupations such as cloud computing, engineering, artificial intelligence, content production, people, culture, etc., as well as the types of skills required for each. “Of the eight different job groups that the report focuses on, only people, culture and content production currently have gender parity,” said Ratcheva.
While blockchain and cryptocurrency were not specifically mentioned in the report, Racheva emphasized that sectors such as cloud computing, data, artificial intelligence, engineering and product development are likely to strongly represent both blockchain and digital asset functions. Thus, Racheva noted that although it is clear that women are still in the minority in the blockchain sector, the participation of women appears to be higher compared to other areas:
“Among these sectors, female representation is on average 29%, which is an optimistic assessment of women’s representation in the blockchain and cryptocurrency, but concerted efforts are still needed to achieve gender equality.”
Achieving equality after COVID-19
It is important to release the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 one year after the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The report indicates that the health status and the associated economic downturn have affected women more than men, opening more gaps that could have been filled earlier.
The report says, for example, that women are losing their jobs now more than men, citing data from the International Labor Organization, which shows that 5% of women have lost their jobs since the start of the epidemic, compared to 3.9% of men. Reports say:
This is partly due to their unequal representation in sectors that are directly disintegrated by constraints, such as the consumer sector. Data from the USA also shows that women from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups are the most affected. ”
Saadia Zahidi, CEO of the World Economic Forum, added that the pandemic has affected gender equality in both the workplace and the home, and hindered decades of progress. “If we want a vibrant future in the economy, it is important that women are represented in the jobs of tomorrow,” she said.
Sue Duke, Head of Global Public Policy at LinkedIn, notes that women are still underrepresented in most fast-growing jobs, leading to further challenges related to gender equality.
Zahedi believes companies and governments must focus on ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in their recovery plans to meet these challenges. “Central to this is the assessment of candidates on the basis of their skills and potential, and not just on their direct work experience and formal qualifications. Skills-based employment is key if we want to make the economy and society more inclusive,” she said.
When it comes to bridging the gender parity gap in fast-growing industries like blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Racheva made clear that a two-pronged approach is needed. She noted the importance of continuing to attract women to science, technology and engineering fields. At the same time, she noted that this growth should be supported by greater diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace, particularly in areas where women are underrepresented, and adds:
“It is important to send an important signal to women who want to move into jobs where they will be underrepresented that there are mechanisms for their prosperity and advancement. Without these guarantees, we are asking women for wasted investment in STEM skills.”