• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Feminism in the emerging technologies: The rise of the soft

Feminism in the emerging technologies: The rise of the soft

There is no doubt technical computational skills dominate the emerging nature of work and economy.

However, they cannot be effective without an equal level of competencies in soft and humane skills like emotional and social intelligence, self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, adaptability, teamwork, among others that are necessary for effectiveness and productivity in the emerging workplace.

While most of these soft skills are naturally feministic, feminism in this context, however, does not solely imply an ideology but rather a description of the attributes of soft skills and power.

Soft power has always played a significant role in human development although seldom given the necessary recognition.

It is prominent in international politics, conflict resolution, public diplomacy, and recently soft attributes have the necessary complements for the fast-selling technical computational skills.

The emerging economy is undeniably a soft-powered economy as the nature of work is systematically been repositioned to be more knowledge-driven rather than physical might as in the past.

The emerging industry 4.0, for instance, is mainly automated and robotized, therefore, physical activities in economic production and other life activities are drastically being minimised.

The implication is soft skills such as emotional intelligence (EI), social intelligence (SI), adversity quotient (AQ), conflicts resolution, ethical management, empathy, trustworthiness, and related attributes are being positioned alongside the traditional intelligent quotient (IQ) and technical abilities.

Soft skills are gradually becoming a survival skill in every human activity: economics, leadership, business, politics, foreign affairs, diplomacy, and basic social relationships like friendship, marriage, and family life.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to prioritise girl child education, especially in the tech-related subjects, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) while allowing them the space to thrive because women are definitely playing a very critical role in the emerging economy.

Similar areas of concern are gender equality and inclusivity, remuneration and work-life balance, leadership and representation, among other burning gender equality issues around the world.

Although the global tech space is still male-dominated, its future, however, looks very promising for the female gender because emerging technology is essentially not gender-oriented.

It is therefore an open field for all though with few bottlenecks at this early phase. For instance, in a recent analysis of Africa’s startup ecosystem carried out by Stears Business; the analysis spanning between 2019 and 2021 revealed that the emerging tech industry is still widely dominated by male founders with 72 percent of deals by founder gender being attributed to all-male founding members while female founding members account for 7 percent.

Also, it was revealed the proportion of deals sealed with at least one female co-founder in Nigeria during this period was 28 percent compared to 16 percent in Egypt and South Africa, respectively.

This notwithstanding is not the end, emerging technologies although evolving at a very rapid rate are very promising for those who will avail themselves of the opportunities most especially among the female gender.

In the area of digital technology education, there has been an exponential rise in opportunities to acquire new digital skills, work remotely, and importantly by the virtue of the soft nature of the emerging work that aptly fits the female gender.

For example, Coursera, an online education platform, recorded a global increase of female learners from 38 percent to 45 percent between 2018-19 and 2020.

Also, women-owned businesses are gradually on the rise globally; according to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey, 20.9 percent or more of the total businesses in the United States are women-owned.

Globally, women currently hold 24 percent of senior leadership positions both in business and political organisations with possibilities for more increase, which is an unprecedented feat.

Whichever way, whether as an employee, professional, entrepreneur, or in general leadership, there are undeniably ample opportunities and special needs for the feminine nature in the emerging world.

Read also: Business women advocate female’s property rights in Nigeria

Similarly, emerging organisations generally tend to be more considerable for the female gender, profit and not for profit alike often allocate quotas to women in different dimensions.

There are also a significant number of initiatives focusing on women in technology with global reach while preventing the possibilities of local hindrances, examples are the National Girls Collaborative Project and Girls Who Code both of which are platforms working to inspire women to pursue computer sciences and engineering and close the gender gap in STEM industries.

Also, TechWomen is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), particularly from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.

Women in Tech Africa is another, it is perhaps the largest group on the continent with membership across 30 countries globally with 12 Physical chapters in Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Germany, Ireland, Britain, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, and Cape Verde.

Nigeria for instance has produced some prominent names in the emerging tech ecosystem worthy of mentioning and possible models for intending and interested young women in tech, they include Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, a tech expert and entrepreneur, currently the country manager of Google in Nigeria;

Bilkiss Adebola-Adebayo, previously an IBM software engineer, she is the founder of WeCyclers, a startup that offers waste collection and recycling services to Lagos residents; Nnenna Nwakanma, former interim policy director for the World Wide Web Foundation at the United Nations and the co-founder of the Free Software and Open-Source Foundation for Africa;

Olamide Ayeni-Babajide, a computer engineer and founder of Pearl Recycling, an initiative focused on producing useful items from waste. Others are Ola Brown, co-founder of FlyingDoctors and director of GreenTree Investment Africa;

Adora Nwodo, a software engineer at Microsoft, where she builds cloud services and High-Value Experiences related to Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality; Temie Giwa-Tuboson, founder of LifeBank, a healthcare technology, and logistics company startup that saves lives by speeding up blood and oxygen donations and deliveries from labs across the country to patients and doctors in hospitals; and many more women performing excellently well in the Nigerian emerging tech ecosystem.

Technically or not, emerging tech is highly flexible, soft, and generally unbiased; It is not just a disruption but in it lies the jobs and the businesses of the future.

Olagunju is a researcher candidate at the department of data and information science, University of Ibadan