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Women Needed in STEM on Brink of Fourth Industrial Revolution

By January 17, 2018No Comments

Women are underwhelmingly employed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Not only women themselves, but governments and industries would benefit to realize the value of more women in such fields. The European Commission says that more women in information and communications technology (ICT), a STEM subfield, could increase the European Union’s GDP by nine billion euros per year.

This low-risk high-reward opportunity is being missed around the globe, with a particular negligence at home. Canada, for its gender-balanced cabinet, only sees 36 per cent of PhDs in science earned by women, while the UK and US see 49 and 46 per cent, respectively. Canada’s science minister thinks that Canadian universities aren’t doing enough to ensure gender parity.

Female participation in STEM, and especially within ICT, is of particular importance today as the world faces the Fourth Industrial Revolution: an extension of the Digital Revolution which will see heightened usage of artificial intelligence to find solutions to business and societal problems through automation. Traditionally, areas known to pose opportunities for secure and lucrative careers are STEM-related, and this will only become more true as artificial intelligence continues to find its way into the global market. Women need to pursue STEM in order to have a chance at artificial intelligence. Careers in this area may skyrocket at the same time that administrative and repetitive jobs, many of which are traditionally held by women, are at a higher risk of being automated.

Because employment loss due to artificial intelligence w