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The Women of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
How the role of women will evolve in a new era of industrialisation
South Africa, Johannesburg – 16 August, 2019 – While the next Industrial Revolution will bring a massive wave of disruption, it will also bring the promise of game-changing technologies in automation, computer science, advanced robotics, drones and others that will rapidly change how we live and work. Women’s Month is a good time to reflect on how this new era will affect women.
Industries like manufacturing and construction, businesses that are mostly male-dominated, are likely to be the most affected by automation. Meanwhile, worldwide, women have more degrees, post-graduate degrees and PhDs than men* and generally speaking are in a better position to take advantages of jobs that are less affected by automation such as psychology, law and medicine. Additionally, the skills that women bring to the table are now recognised as profitable and important including the ability to read body language, use emotional intelligence, the ability to build consensus and to mentor people.
There are other challenges being addressed by technology as well. Companies have traditionally lost talented women in their thirties because that’s when many choose having kids over careers, in the short term. However, as household work becomes further automated, it could relieve part of the burden of being both a caregiver and a breadwinner. This, along with an increase in opportunities for remote working make it easier for women to combine work and family.
“We’ve already seen how innovative devices from smartphones, tablets, wearables with their internet and connectivity capabilities enable new opportunities for innovation. Furthermore, high performance devices from smartphones to tablets, offer unprecedented levels of productivity including features like Samsung Dex, which turns a device into a PC-like experience. And for companies, for whom security is a high priority, Samsung Knox offers defence grade security. This works in favour of women and the desire for flexible working hours,” says Cambridge Mokanyane, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung South Africa.
The fact is, most jobs created now will have a technology component and it is important that women gravitate to the skills they will need to stand out. This is an opportunity for women to create new career paths and differentiate themselves. Locally, Samsung believes it can turn this potential into power and impact communities at large. Programmes such as Samsung’s Engineering Academy have increased opportunities for women to enter into technology trades that were traditionally reserved for men. The ultimate aim is to change the narrative around what it means to be a woman in the digital age.
After all, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will require women to work within technological systems and to fill gaps created by evolving technology. Fortunately, demand will also grow for jobs that rely on inherent human traits and abilities such as empathy, compassion and cross-team collaboration – skills often attributed to women.