Rethinking the Future of Work for Women: The Reskilling Revolution Needed to Face Automation



Over the next decade, million of workers will be displaced by automation technologies and artificial intelligence. This is especially true for women, according to the report released by the McKinsey Global Institute. The research has shown that up to 1 in 4 women could find their job disrupted by automation and may need to move into new occupations, often requiring higher skills. Indeed, women may find it harder to adapt because they still face systematic barriers that have held back gender equality at work. In the automation age, women will need to be more skilled, more mobile, and more tech-savvy.

Research has also shown that women are disproportionately employed in the occupations that are highly vulnerable to automation. For instance, looking at the US workforce as a whole, women constitute 54% of workers employed in high risk of automation occupations, despite comprising less than half of the total labor force. These findings directly contradict the prevailing public narrative in many new stories that robots and computers are primarily a threat to men’s jobs.

This session will explore different perspectives on the impact of automation due to new technologies on women and how such impacts can best be mitigated so as to deliver gender equality in the tech sector and beyond as soon as possible.



Opening remarks

H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, Co-Chair of the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals


Dr. Mekala Krishnan, Senior Fellow, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)

Ms. Sara Enright, Associate Director, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

Ms. Diana Rusu, Policy Specialist, Innovation and KM for Women's Economic Empowerment (UN Women)

Ms. Amber Barth, Senior Programme Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Ms. Claudia Linke Heep, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Moderated by

Ms. Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations, New York

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