IMF: 26m Women May Lose Jobs to Technology  

Counsellor and Director of the Research Department, IMF, Maurice Obstfeld

By Obinna Chima, in Bali, Indonesia

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that at least 26 million female jobs in 30 countries were at the risk of being displaced by technology.

The fund stated this in a report titled: “Gender, Technology and the Future Work,” that was unveiled on the sidelines of the ongoing IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

Speaking during a panelists’ session with the theme: “Empowering Women in the Workplace,” the Managing Director, IMF, Christine Lagarde, said globally, 11 per cent of women were at risk of losing their jobs due to advances in computer technology, while only four per cent of the male population faces same risk.

According to her, less educated and older female workers, aged 40 and above, as well as those in low-skill clerical, service, and sales positions were disproportionately exposed to automation.

“Extrapolating our results, we find that around 180 million female jobs are at high risk of being displaced globally.“Therefore policies are needed to endow women with required skills, close gender gaps in leadership positions and bridge digital gender divide that could confer greater flexibility in work, benefiting women,” she said.

Also, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Mrs Mulyani Indrawati, urged women to be role models at their places of work.

“As women, we must strive to do extraordinarily well in other to set example for the younger generation.

“We also need to ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way.”

On her part, the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mrs Vera Songwe, said increased access to the internet would bridge skill gap among women.

“250 million fewer women than men in 2017 had access to the internet. In Africa, 27 million fewer women access reliable and affordable internet which will help close the current digital divide.”

She said also higher female labour force participation could boost economic growth of a country.