New York City, NY – March 29, 2017 – Pearl Sawyer, Executive Vice President of UFCW Canada Local 1006A, recently delivered a keynote address at a parallel event to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women session in New York City, New York.
Sister Sawyer, who also serves as a World Executive Board Member with UNI Global Union and as a UFCW Representative with the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee, presented a paper on the digitization of work and its effects on gender.
One of the key findings of the paper was that 47 percent of the jobs currently being performed around the world are amenable to being computerized. The types of jobs that will be affected by digitization will have a direct impact on the positions held by women in the labour force.
The effects of this phenomenon will require workers to invest in further training as well as lifelong learning. Unfortunately, this may pose a challenge for women who face social, cultural, and economic barriers in the workplace.
The digitization of work will also lead to a widening of the technology gap, Sister Sawyer explained. However, a study by the World Bank says that if we can double the pace at which women become frequent users of digital technologies, the workplace could reach gender parity by 2040 in developed nations, and by 2060 in developing nations.
After outlining the effects of the digitization of work on gender, Sawyer then addressed the need for solutions: “So what can we do? At UNI, we want to be prepared for what lies ahead. We know that it is a daunting and sometimes frightening scenario. But if we are ready, this challenge can become an excellent opportunity to grow and learn. And to be ready, we need a strategy. We also need to be resourceful in order to be prepared,” she told the audience.