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New Report Shows How Artificial Intelligence Affects Women’s Working Lives

A report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), OECD, and UNESCO studies the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) systems on women’s work opportunities. The study reveals that AI systems can have a gendered effect on labor, care, and domestic employment. Moreover, AI can promote stereotypes about women that impact opportunities to reskill and upskill as well as pathways to STEM-related careers.

The report warns that governments, the private sector, and other actors must make efforts to ensure women are not left behind in the digital economy and analyzes measures to make it possible. It also encourages organizations, citizens, policymakers, and academics to face this challenge of the future of work.

The report is authored by researchers from the IDB, the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy at the University of Cambridge and Oxford, UNESCO, and the OECD. 

Key considerations of the report include:

Contextual and geographical complexities must be systematically addressed when designing and implementing AI systems. Diverse labor markets, economies, cultures, and gender norms shape how workers experience AI systems in practice, meaning that AI-based tools and technologies will impact women's work in these settings.

Women must not be left behind in the digital economy. The report reveals the troubling gaps in women’s access to digital skills and jobs, and how governments, companies, and societies must work to close these gaps. The UNESCO EQUALS Skills Coalition (2019) estimated that, on average, around the globe, women are 25% less likely than men to know how to use information and communications technology (CT) for basic purposes, such as using simple arithmetic formulas on a spreadsheet. Meanwhile, men are four times likelier than women to have advanced skills such as computer programming.

We must support skill-equalizing work environments for women across society.

The report finds that some AI systems might offer employees unequal models of flexible work. This reinforces the notion of women as primary caregivers, considering they spend more than twice as much time as men on domestic and care work.

AI systems and workplaces must not fuel gender inequality. The report shows the powerful connection between stereotypes of women’s paid and unpaid work, and how these stereotypes are further shaped and encoded into technological systems.

Through this joint report, the IDB fosters digital transformation in the region in line with Vision 2025 – the Bank’s blueprint for stimulating recovery and reigniting economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative helps accelerate a fair and inclusive transition towards a more digital, resilient, inclusive, and quality labor system for women. 

Download "The Effects of AI on the Working Lives of Women" here

Sobre el BID

El Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo es una de las principales fuentes de financiamiento a largo plazo para proyectos económicos, sociales e institucionales en América Latina y el Caribe. Además de préstamos, donaciones y garantías crediticias, el BID lleva a cabo proyectos de investigación de vanguardia para brindar soluciones innovadoras y sostenibles a los problemas más urgentes de su región. Creado en 1959 para ayudar a acelerar el progreso en sus países miembros en desarrollo, el BID trabaja todos los días para mejorar vidas.



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