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The expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents significant opportunities for advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including promoting gender equality. 

This 2022 report is a collaborative effort between UNESCO, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to investigate the intersection of gender and technology. This joint initiative examines how AI affects women's employment experiences, emphasising both challenges and prospects. The report underscores the importance of conducting further research to understand the impact of AI on women and to address the digital gender gap, ensuring that women are not marginalised in the evolving landscape of work.

Key findings

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, making it necessary to understand how AI systems work. Governments, NGOs, academic institutions, businesses should ensure that programmes for retraining women or upskilling their digital skills are designed and implemented in order to respond to the growing demand for ICT professionals. This is crucial in order 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: This report calls on more women to engage with AI in a professional capacity, and strongly encourages the provision of STEM educational programmes to women and girls in order to achieve this.
  • AI systems have varying levels of 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, gender, 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 must take into account marginalised social groups, and create balancing trends in the working environments for women.
  • It is important to understand that social stereotypes can often be 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, a focus should be placed on taking into account the role of women in work, the gender pay gap, and the additional domestic obligations and responsibilities they bear. 
  • More academic research is needed to justify the functionality of AI, and to ensure the protection of workers' rights in AI-related professions. As AI systems affect work in general, but also women’s working lives in particular, more research needs to be done into the social implications of the wider use of AI.

For more, read The Effects of AI on the Working Lives of Women online.

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Industry - field of education and training
Personal skills and development
Geographical sphere
International initiative
Publication type
Study