How Can Digitalization Enable Gender Equality?
Thanks to technological progress, existing professions are being transformed and new jobs are being created. Take the role of a data scientist, a job that didn’t exist a few short years ago. But with the advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the automation of repetitive work processes, allow employees to focus on “value add” functions. This change is accelerating — and so is the need for tech savvy workers.
That’s why the theme for year’s International Women’s Day couldn’t be more apt: “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”
The inclusion of women in STEM professions is essential for promoting economic growth, maintaining and increasing innovative strength, and implementing sustainability goals for countries and companies alike.
Even though the UN predicts 75% of jobs will be in STEM fields by 2050, according to a recent Unicef report, comparatively fewer girls than boys are still interested in these occupational fields. In fact, only 22% of jobs in the field of artificial intelligence are held by women.
Professions in STEM and Supply Chain becoming more prominent
Digitization is changing the way we communicate, work and shop, which impacts the way businesses manufacture, sell and deliver their products. Companies must redesign and optimize their supply chain and logistics processes to meet customer expectations. This underscores the increasingly important role that STEM professions play in meeting demand and overcoming future challenges.
“I see the world through the eyes of a supply chain – whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a vacation on the beach – it takes a powerful network of people across disciplines to ensure products and services are delivered in a timely fashion to foster a great customer experience,” said Mindy Davis, Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP Digital Supply Chain. “The emergence of those well versed in STEM is stimulating growth in supply chain across industries. On this international women’s day, let’s celebrate ‘all’ who are investing their time and livelihood to making it easier for businesses to shape strategies for the future.”
With the increasing use of automation and digital technologies such as robotics, IoT, or machine learning in supply chain management, STEM skills are becoming more important as they become more technology-driven. However, women are often still underrepresented in STEM professions and supply chain. Therefore, it is important to encourage more girls and women to pursue careers in STEM professions.
Gender diversity in STEM leads to stronger Supply Chain
Greater gender diversity in STEM can lead to a stronger and more inclusive workforce, especially in the supply chain, which benefits everyone.
“If women or young girls are studying the latest technologies in school, it creates a positive impact on the way the world runs in the future,” said Davis said in a recent “The Future of Supply Chain” podcast episode, “How Innovation and Technology are opening doors for women in Supply Chain.”
According to Paige Cox, Senior Vice President, Chief Product & Technology Officer of SAP Business Network at SAP, supply chain really does run the world because it takes the product from an idealization of a thought to a real product that consumers love.
“It’s a fascinating field, especially if you can bring your creativity and diversity to it,” said Cox. “Women in general have a different way of thinking, they connect the dots and see different challenges or problems with a different color of leans.”
To achieve this, it is even more important for companies to find the right talent to create a more modern, high-performing workforce that can quickly adapt to changes in the technology and market landscape.
“Technology is one such enabler, but so is emotional, human intelligence,” said Cox. “But to really use digital data and information to make the right decisions, it still takes us.”
And the higher demand for employees with certain skills has exacerbated the talent shortage. But that’s where the opportunities lie to attract more women to STEM professions.
“The supply chain is not just about transferring products, it’s about the whole process from design to operate,” said Davis. “Digitalization opens the causeway of information flow for all, regardless of gender – to connect across silos, inside and outside the company, and geographically around the globe. It is innovation that breeds growth. And with technology, we can focus on our own unique intellectual prowess that facilitates the change we want to see in the world.”
If you’d like to learn more, listen to “The Future of Supply Chain” podcast.