The male vision predominates in the digital age, as has become clear at MWC, and may pose a risk of increasing inequality
The accelerated digitization of the economy can be a regression in terms of equal opportunities between women and men. In Spain, there are 156,000 women with information technology training, according to Eurostat, who represent only a fifth of the total workforce.
One of the places where you can see these problems more clearly is the Mobile World Congress, which was held in Barcelona last week.
More than 67,000 men attended the congress, while women remained at 22,000 participants, a quarter of the total. The male vision, therefore, predominates in the present digitalization of the economy and can pose a new risk of increasing gender inequality.
Mayo Fuster is an economist and director of the Dimmons research group at the Open University of Catalonia:
“This digitization model and the industry practices that can be seen in Mobile or the public policies that do not incorporate the gender perspective are leading to a regression of equality. This can be seen in the composition of the professionals who develop the algorithms that reproduce stereotypes.”
Fuster is also one of the organizers of the next Congress of Feminist Economics that will be held in Barcelona next week and will devote special attention to the feminist reading of the digital economy.
A survey of 400 women technologists by the organization Digital FEMS reveals new reasons for concern. 78 % of women feel capable of tackling complex technology challenges, but 47% say they haven’t received enough support from their company to prepare.
56% of women respondents say that there is no equality officer in their company and the same proportion says that they have not had the same opportunities as men.
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Feminist economics does not limit itself to criticizing reality, alternatives are also proposed, such as that of Intermedia Job. A digital job search platform that is not based on the CV, but on the skills. Skills that include those learned in personal and family life, in which women are particularly strong.
Encarna Serrano is the director of the Intermedia Foundation, which is dedicated to the insertion of people in vulnerable situations. Serrano explains what the platform they have designed looks like:
“The company describes the offer based on the qualification and experience that is needed, but above all, it focuses on the skills, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to do this job. At the same time, people who are looking for work opt into the platform and do a self-assessment of their level of skills.”
About twenty companies in the social economy use Intermedia Jobs to find staff. Those responsible for the service want to extend the offer to other economic sectors this year and grow their alternative model.