4IR is key to opportunities for women in MENA: McKinsey report

DUBAI, McKinsey and Company released findings from its latest report Middle East Women at Work at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, which highlighted the importance of advancing gender parity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The two-day forum taking place in Dubai, will conclude on 17th February.

During a session at GWFD 2020’s Economy Hub, Chiara Marcati, Partner at McKinsey and Company, who has been involved in various projects related to gender diversity and inclusion over the past decade, said that advancing gender parity in the region stands to be such a driver of change.

Marcati explained that the Fourth Industrial Revolution can create opportunities for women through automation, digitisation, online platforms and the rise of entrepreneurship. Automation means women can access sectors that are traditionally male-oriented. She also highlighted that demand for technological skills is set to rise 55 percent by 2030, making digital tools and advanced analytics a vital component of creating workforce opportunities for women.

While online platforms such as LinkedIn are helping with networking, women are less likely to ask for referrals and apply for 20 percent fewer jobs than male counterparts.

I am very excited about the rise of entrepreneurship. Humanity is great at inventing jobs and there are significant returns for the self-starters who want to achieve something for themselves, said Marcati. McKinsey’s report highlights that women-owned or partially owned enterprises generate 2.5 times the return of others.

The research also indicates that there are several factors driving female representation in professional and technical jobs, including education, digital inclusion, financial inclusion and legal protection.

We must create more role models for young girls by choosing study fields that offer more digital skills. Also, 69 million women in MENA are still not using the internet, and many women in the region remain unbanked, often as a result of not having identification documents, Marcati continued.

In terms of remuneration for equal work, women are still being paid less than men for freelance jobs about 20-45 percent less. The survey also highlighted the unsupportive work environment that women often face, with research indicating women’s judgement is being questioned five times more than men.

Summarising the next steps, Marcati added, To accelerate the pathway to gender parity, we must prioritise education, fix structural foundation, and create a conducive environment in which we are aware of our biases. Awareness is solving half the problem; we must keep talking about it.

Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 is organised by Dubai Women Establishment, which is led by H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and wife ofH.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Building on its theme, ‘The Power of Influence’, Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 will highlight how effective policies and partnerships in four key areas Government, Economy, Society, and the Future can further women’s positive impact for a better future.

Source: Emirates News Agency