India ranks 135 out of the 146 countries featured in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022. The report revealed that less than one out of five women in the country are employed, at least formally.
In fact, female workforce participation in India went down from 32% in 2005 to 19% in 2021. Several unique challenges – from lack of equal pay to managing domestic responsibilities – keep women from pursuing full-time jobs.
Technology can be a key driver in correcting the gender imbalance in the workplace. Recognising this, UN Women selected the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” for International Women’s Day this year. Among other aspects, the theme recognises how transformative technology can correct gender inequalities in the workplace and promote female employee inclusion at all levels.
5 ways tech could help bridge the gender gap at work
Here are some ideas around how efficient use of technology can help companies bridge the gender divide in the workforce.
1. Use social media platforms to widen the talent pool
Traditionally not part of old-boy networks or wide professional circles, women often find it difficult to know about suitable open positions. Companies can use social media platforms to bridge the gender gap by:
- Using the company’s social media handles and industry-specific online forums to communicate benefits and opportunities available to women employees.
- Using targeted ads to reach more women.
- Informing / advertising about open positions to passive and active job seekers.
- Featuring testimonials from women employees to promote the company as an inclusive and supportive workplace.
2. Deploy ethical AI for bias-free talent nurturing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help eliminate human bias in hiring, developing, and promoting talent. By introducing objectivity and data-driven decision-making, AI helps create an intentional talent-nurturing approach that only focuses on skill and expertise. To achieve this, companies must:
- Build an AI-enabled human resources framework that can be supplemented with relevant data, like resumes, job descriptions, performance reviews, and other relevant information about candidates, and programmed to prioritise merit.
- Conduct bias analysis on these AI models to eliminate discriminating factors like gender, socioeconomic status, industry, or educational background.
- Establish transparency and accountability by providing candidates with information about data modelling for hiring decisions.
Flaws in coding can cause implicit bias; targeting the very source of such biases helps remove such ‘invisible barriers’
3. Use hybrid technology to avoid “Flexidus”
70% of Indian working women quit or consider quitting their jobs due to lack of flexibility at work.
Hybrid working can help women balance professional and personal responsibilities and empower more primary caregivers to rejoin the workforce. To facilitate work from home without impacting productivity, organisations can:
- Enable hybrid or remote collaboration with partners and customers using a digital HQ like Slack.
- Use time-tracking and productivity tools to help women work from home efficiently and manage their time effectively.
4. Use digital tools to close pay gaps
Equal pay is critical to ensuring gender equality at work. To enable pay parity, organisations can use all or a combination of the following:
- Pay equity software: Uses algorithms to analyse a company’s pay data and identify any pay disparities.
- Pay transparency software: Allows employees to see how their pay compares to that of colleagues, helping them flag discrepancies.
- Performance management systems: Help ensure that pay is linked to performance rather than factors such as gender or ethnicity.
5. Offer extensive training and upskilling opportunities
Women must be equipped to overcome historical disadvantages such as educational deficiencies and lack of strong support and social networks. For this, organisations can leverage the following:
- Virtual upskilling and reskilling opportunities can also promote an inclusive culture.
Online courses and webinars can benefit women with caregiving or other commitments that make attending in-person training difficult. Learning Management Systems (LMS) deliver, track, and manage training programs. LMSs offer interactive features like quizzes, gamification, and social learning.
- Immersive virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) enable users to experience workplace scenarios and offer a way to learn about possible hostile working conditions in a safe way. For example, in traditionally male-dominated fields such as security, engineering, or construction, women can use VR/AR to gain hands-on experience and develop the necessary skills without facing gender-based discrimination or harassment in real-life situations. By providing a safe and controlled environment to practice and develop skills, VR/AR can help women to feel more empowered and prepared to enter and succeed in these industries.
Putting equality at the core of business operations
At Salesforce, equality is a core value. By 2026, 40% of Salesforce’s global employees will be women and non-binary individuals.
Since 2015, the company has made a commitment to “equal pay for equal work” and spent approximately $5.6 million in 2022 to address any unexplained differences in pay. Through equality groups such as Women’s Network and annual summits such as Trailblazing Women, Salesforce is creating a worldwide community designed to bring more women to the workforce and help them achieve their potential. Salesforce is also helping women on extended career breaks rejoin the workforce through its ‘Bring Women Back to Work’ initiative. The aim is to reskill women and help them enter the technology industry, perhaps for the first time.
Build your organisation an equal-opportunity workplace
Learn how Salesforce does it with gender equality as its core value