Advances in computing power, big data, and
new algorithms have led to major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI)
in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular has now also highlighted
and accelerated the growing use of AI in everyday life. AI is capable of
transforming all aspects of life, including the world of work. AI systems also
offer new opportunities for gender development and equality, but their use also
poses new challenges and risks. Patterns of gender inequality could be created or
reinforced, in particular existing gender inequalities in the labour market are
likely to lead to gender-specific effects. Similar concerns must be allowed in
the context of the increasing adoption of AI technologies in personnel
management, as well as the massive emergence of platform work.
A report by the European Institute for
Gender Equality (EIGE), prepared during the Slovenian Council Presidency, looks
at these issues in detail.
Many problems, few opportunities
AI is changing the job market in many ways.
The study highlights that women are at a slightly higher risk of losing their
jobs due to automation. Women are largely underrepresented in the recruitment
of new AI talent in spite of rising demand. Gender bias and inherent
discrimination in the algorithmic technologies used to manage the workforce
reinforce pre-existing gender inequalities. However, there are also
opportunities, particularly in the area of platform work, which give reason for
hope, at least in the area of gender equality. More women have started to work
on digital platforms; it is well known that this form of work allows more
flexibility, and there is also less gender segregation than in the traditional
labour market. On the other hand, women and men working on platforms have poor social
Action is needed on many fronts, and one is not idle
For example, the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 identifies AI as a
key and driver of economic progress. This is why women must be among the AI
developers, researchers and programmers. This strategy also requires addressing
segregation, stereotyping and gender gaps in education. Ultimately, greater
diversity in the AI development sector will also help eliminate previous unfair
biases in data.
Following the publication of a White Paper on AI in 2020, the European Commission made a Proposal for regulation of AI, the Artificial Intelligence
Act, in April 2021. The aim is to establish harmonised rules for AI, uphold the
values and principles of the European Union, protect fundamental rights,
including gender equality, and increase user safety.
There is no lack of action when it comes to
platform work either: the European Commission has announced a legislative
initiative in the Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan still this year.
It is to be hoped that the cooperation of
all parties involved will be intensified and accelerated as a solution for all
is only possible with the participation of all.
Click here for the study.