The aim of the report of the Organisation for Economic Collection and Development is to raise awareness among readers of the dynamics, technical functionality and potential impacts of AI by focusing on women. It also presents changing skills demands in the labour market. It also highlights the impact of AI on women entering the workplace and the implications of AI for their working environment and career development.
Very briefly, the report highlights the following six findings:
- More digital retraining/upskilling programmes are needed for women: AI is changing the structure of the labour market by creating new demands on workers’ skills, necessary to understand how AI systems work. In a similar way, not only cannot women remain unaffected by this change, but it is imperative to respond to the growing demand for ICT professionals. Governments, NGOs, academic institutions, businesses should ensure that programmes for retraining women or upskilling their digital skills are designed and implemented. It is the only solution to reduce the gap between women’s access to digital knowledge and to fill jobs in digital professions.
- Women should be encouraged to pursue ICT careers: It is a key call for women to engage in AI in a professional capacity, which, in order to be satisfied, requires the provision of STEM educational programmes to girls and women.
- It is worth appreciating that AI systems have multiple and different influence on women’s daily lives from country to country. For this reason, the design and implementation of AI tools or public policies on AI must take into account the cultural and social specificities of each country.
- There is a need to ensure the involvement and mobilisation of the largest possible number of actors, both public and private, in public issues related to AI. When designing/implementing public AI policies, all stakeholders take into account vulnerable social groups as well as create balancing trends in the working environment for women.
- It must be understood that social stereotypes are often embedded in the design and implementation of AI systems. For example, virtual personal assistants may promote specific gender stereotypes. For this reason, at all stages of a public policy promoting an equal working environment, special conditions should be taken into account, such as the role of women in work, the lower pay they earn compared to their male colleagues, the family and household obligations that they mainly bear.
- More and more academic research is needed to justify the functionality of AI as well as to protect the rights of AI-related workers. As AI systems affect work in general but also women’s working lives in particular, the social implications of the wider use of AI need to be understood.
The following link The Effects of AI on the Working Lives of Women READ online (oecd-ilibrary.org) can read the OECD report.