In the first, second, and third industrial revolutions, women were largely barred from participating and holding executive roles in organizations, leading to two centuries of economic dominance by men.
However, The fourth industrial revolution foundations are digital and being laid right now and now there is a significant increase in the number of women taking up the majority of leadership and entrepreneurial space, but still, there is much that needs to be done.
The absence of women would be a significant setback in closing the gender gap in the twenty-first century.
Women outperform men in most leadership skills as well as key skills like problem-solving and innovation. Despite this, only 7.4% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.
Women entrepreneurs are more likely to be found in less profitable and capital-intensive industries. Gender inequality is costing the world.
According to McKinsey & Company, advancing women’s equality could add up to US$28 trillion in the best-case scenario.
This year, International Women’s Day is themed DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
Digital technology is opening new doors for the global empowerment of women, girls, and other marginalized groups.
From gender-responsive digital learning to tech-facilitated sexual and reproductive healthcare, the digital age represents an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate all forms of disparity and inequality.
Despite this, the growing inequalities around the world are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of a digital gender divide.
The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.
Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology will result in more creative solutions and greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.
Currently. the world faces a significant digital gender divide. The proportion of female leaders in the UK tech sector is only 5% and this could be even lower in other regions like Africa and Asia.
According to the 2018 OECD report, 327 million fewer women than men own smartphones and have access to the mobile Internet.
Women are restricted by this on the grounds that digitization is omnipresent, and influences all aspects of our lives.
Not exclusively are digitally uneducated women prone to be rejected from appealing and rewarding business opportunities, since they need digital proficiency, which is one of the most requested abilities today.
Their exclusion will likewise keep them from taking advantage of digital networks and identifying entrepreneurial opportunities.
So how can we help address this? There are several ways in which women entrepreneurs can be empowered to shape the digital future and here are our five thoughts:
Providing access to education and training: upskilling is the key to accomplishing individual development in any sphere.
Women entrepreneurs need access to training and education in technology and entrepreneurship to develop the skills they need to succeed in the digital world.
This can be done through government programs, mentorship, and partnerships with educational institutions and businesses.
Likewise, upskilling and adapting to the latest advancements can empower women business owners to take control and change their future by understanding the continuous demand of business.
Creating workspaces that are more women-friendly: Free coffee and tea aren’t all when it comes to women-friendly workplaces. The women-friendly workspaces are safe and secure, dependable places to work, and they frequently include a complete variety of flexible facilities like on-site gyms, day-care, dry cleaning, food delivery, and more.
Such workspaces are created to inspire and encourage talented women on the team. While coworking spaces have really tried on this, most spaces are frequently crammed with workstations and have more male-centric amenities.
Workspaces such as Nairobi Garage, provide spaces that are quite comfortable for women entrepreneurs. Our spaces feature nursing rooms and also events that are more centered on women and their well-being one being a fireside chat on achieving work-life balance held sometime last year
These places are bright and spacious, with and spacious, with pleasant colors and comfy seats for women alone. Women may interact, create, and be productive away from home and male-dominated coworking spaces.
Encouraging networking and collaboration: Women entrepreneurs can benefit from networking and collaborating with other women in the industry. This can be done through business associations, conferences, and online forums.
Providing access to funding and resources: Women entrepreneurs often face barriers to accessing funding and resources. Governments, financial institutions, and businesses can help by providing access to capital, mentorship, and resources.
Fostering women’s financial consideration is critical as it would enable women and make them ready to face challenges, begin or put resources into businesses, or support expenses connected to education, healthcare, or home upgradation.
Addressing gender biases and stereotypes: Gender biases and stereotypes can limit women’s access to opportunities in the digital world. Efforts should be made to address these biases and stereotypes through education, awareness campaigns, and policy changes.
Promoting diversity and inclusion: Diversity and inclusion are key to creating a digital future that is fair and equitable.
Businesses and governments can promote diversity and inclusion by adopting policies and practices that promote gender equality and diversity.
Creating an Inclusive startup ecosystem
Until recently, women entrepreneurs were looked at as someone who would miss out on potential open doors in the globalization and digitalization sector; and women-led organizations were less inclined to stand out and participate in international business transactions.
Among inventive new companies searching for investments, the gender gap was significantly more striking since just a small bunch of start-up founders were female.
Today, the startup ecosystem is now seeing a strong emergence of women entrepreneurs solving for problems and providing solutions for need gap areas. As more women are making this foray, they are becoming known for their insight, sharp business acumen, and spearheading soul across all industry areas and their ability to create opportunities for other women is also increasing.
By empowering women entrepreneurs to shape the digital future, we can create a more diverse, innovative, and prosperous society.
Today, women-owned, and women-managed businesses are equally progressive and profitable. Teams formed by women, led by women, and managed to inspire other women are proof that the business field is no longer a man’s world.
Governments and other led institutions can also work towards ensuring that there is also an emphasis on the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.