Gender balance makes dollars and sense

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. IWD marks a call-to-action for accelerating gender balance.

This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter because:

“Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”

– internationalwomensday.com

By striking the #BalanceforBetter pose, just like the photos in this post, you can help to raise awareness of this important cause.

Striking a pose for the #BalanceforBetter campaign.

Why bother? Gender balance would make a big impact on the world’s economy. A 2019 McKinsey Global Institute report found that $12 trillion could be added to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. The report stressed that public, private and social sectors will need to act to close gender gaps in both work and society.

But just getting a foot in the door can be a challenge. The results of a study of women in the UK revealed that 17 per cent of women believe they had a job application denied solely just because of being female. A further 18 per cent felt their applications were denied because of personal opinion.

That said, progressive companies are already taking the steps towards recognizing the contributions of women in the workplace. For example, last year, I reported on how Salesforce’s CEO assessed the salaries of the company’s female and male employees to determine if gender-based pay inequality existed, and then corrected the inequalities as required.

And there’s still more work to do to unleash the potential of gender balance.

How can you help?

Raise awareness of the need for gender balance by posting a photo of yourself striking the #BalanceforBetter pose on social media, using the #IWD2019 hashtag. Visit internationalwomensday.com or follow IWD on Twitter and Instagram to learn more about building a gender-balanced world.

Another #BalanceforBetter pose.

Image credits: Laine Bodnar.

The service robots are coming

Robot servants are no longer science fiction. Robots, along with automation and artificial intelligence (AI), are now making an impact on jobs. How much of an impact? A 2018 study by RBC revealed that 50 per cent of Canadian jobs will be affected by automation in the next decade.

A recent segment on CBC’s The National painted a picture of what robots are capable of today, and how rapid advances in technology could have profound implications for the future of the labour force. It reports that robots have already gained a foothold in service-oriented industries, including food and drink service, food preparation, and receptionists in offices. Learn more in the clip below, then continue reading below the video.

If you’re like me, part of you probably felt a bit of doom and gloom after watching the segment. But that’s not really necessary. As more industries become automated, it’s anticipated that people will adapt their education, training and career path planning to accommodate the new reality. This could involve working in roles that create or support robots, or in roles that require human-to-human interaction that can’t be replicated by AI.

But, what if you think your job is at risk of being taken of by a robot? Make a list of your distinctly human transferable skills and other abilities. Research the other industries or jobs that would be a good fit for you based on this list.

Then, create a functional resume. This style of resume highlights your transferable skills and abilities, taking the focus away from your specific past jobs. It’s particularly helpful if you don’t have direct related experience to a job posting in a new industry, as it showcases the skills gained in previous industries that will help you succeed in the new one.

How do you feel about the service robot revolution? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image credit: Pixabay.com.