by Rebeca Fernández
Over the past 100 years, existing laws and governance efforts have not been able to close gender gaps.
Gender Inequality has been one of the most persistent problems around the world since ancient days, that not only affects women. Over the years, different schemes and programmes have been organised to create a lasting solution to this problem. When half of the human population is denied their full potential, the world as a whole is at enormous disadvantage. Despite an increase in awareness about issues affecting women and other disadvantaged groups, progress on this front continues to stall.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2020, compiled by the World Economic Forum, which measures differences between men and women in four key areas: health, education, economics, and politics, has revealed that will take around 100 years to achieve parity if we continue at the present rate of change. This data is just a small snapshot of a much bigger picture that includes everything from sexual harassment to cultural stereotypes with regards to gender norms.
The invisible coronavirus makes systemic gender inequalities and injustices visible.
The Pandemic has showed us the weaknesses in our systems. Everything in our social world is gendered, and so it is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic with its demands for shutdown of economic activities and mandated push for social distancing is not gender-neutral either. The gender dimensions of the pandemic are numerous and numbingly severe, but they are not new and not surprising.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the root cause, but a reinforcement, exaggerator and aggravator of that what has been discriminatory and unjust before in our systems and communities, including by oppressing, utilizing and victimizing women and girls in many areas of daily life. Viruses don’t discriminate, societies and systems do. It is no coincidence that the dominant economic pattern and thinking has consistently: systemic gender gaps.
Human biased also exposed in current technology.
Modern technology is a marvellous thing – it can increase accuracy and efficiency, perform tedious and redundant tasks, improve the decision-making process, and in general, make life and work a lot easier. And if that’s not enough, technology can also help to advance gender equality.
We know that innovation in HR Technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, and automation is adding a dose of objectivity to business decision-making, but this is not enough for eliminating bias in the workplaces.
CNBC reported that "AI cannot always remove bias from hiring”. They also said that leaders are realizing that a lot of their human practices are simply outdated. AI can work, ‘as long as’ the input data is accurate". Hence, the issue is not AI, but how humans build AI. There is a very real risk that instead of solving the problem of gender bias, AI will only exacerbate it further. Already today we see targeted ads where algorithms are perpetuating the pay gap by targeting listings for better-paid jobs toward me.
The reality is that everyone is biased in some way. It's part of being human — your background and experiences can shape the way you see the world (positively or negatively). Sometimes we realize it, sometimes we don't, but we are often driven to make decisions based on our biases.
Putting humans’ central enables to measure injustice as a clear form of economic inefficiency.
Gender gaps and inequalities are a form of economic inefficiency that needs to be solved. Numbers and data are telling us that has not only a social impact but also an economic impact.
• 25% outperform is the average better stock exchange performance by the Diversity Inc. Top 50 companies
• 85% CEO’s whose organizations have a diversity strategy say its enhanced performance.
• 48% Higher operating margins generated by gender diverse management. PwC, 18th Global CEO Survey
• 42% In terms of return on sales, companies with the highest percentage of female board directors outperform those with the least by 42%. McKinsey Catalyst
• 11.5 Trillion added to GDP by 2028 through eliminating the gender gap (WEF 2020 Gender Report)
• 165 Billion Spanish COVID19 rescue law proposal 2020 named “digitalization and closing the gender gap”.
Fixing the bias bug through Blockchain.
United Nations has already demonstrated that Blockchain has the ability to tackle inequality, which is a plague that runs through our social fabric globally and takes various forms, whether it is gender, economic, class, caste or political inequality.
Blockchain provides a new form of data-driven technology that enables the implementation of social compliance in organizations.
With smart contracts, the rules for measuring gender biases that exist in the workplace can easily outlined in a transparent manner. As a result, social compliance can be independently verified on the blockchain. We are pioneering the concepts of human capital management using the blockchain. Putting human before every other thing is a humane thing to do. Which therefore is our main driving force in our desire to close gender gap and eliminate gender inequalities in the workplace. While others have focused more in digitization of resources, automation of financial decision makings, tokenization assets etc. we have committed to human capital innovation using the blockchain.
The economic production factors are natural, real & human capital. The concepts human capital management has been poorly represented in the blockchain use-cases. Billions of people all over the globe add value to humanity, with blockchain, we can capture and exchange the human data associated to these innovations in a transparent and secure manner. Creativity separates us from other species; therefore, effective utilization of human capital data is crucial.
The blockchain enables new forms of social compliance that will close the gender gap now.
The Blockchain makes social compliance possible, essential for tracing gender gaps. I dare to take the strong stance that digital injustice equals inefficiency because, a gender bias can always be traced to the root cause or systemic design fault. Blockchain focus on systemic design errors; they are easy to remove directly. Personal discrimination requires behavior changes.
Awareness helps here too!. Awareness can change laws and informal better behavior. Removing the bias is just and the end of frustration and misallocated resources raises the corporate efficiency.
Blockchain Technology is a new operational system that not only guarantees safe and secure data exchanges, but also traceable transparent procedures and decisions. Which is totally new for the current systems and technologies, and that guarantees that any fault or bias can be traced to the root. Hence, also the gender bias will be traced and therefore solved.
I believe that the root cause of the gender-gap is not the individual discrimination, but the laid in the hierarchies of layered organizations. Flatter organizations and (filtered) data structures help. Blockchain offers to build flatter organizations, lower coordination costs and gender biases
A gender-responsive approach to innovation will help to rectify the bias that is already built into the system right now, while accelerating the inclusion of women in the working world going forward.
Technology can do many great things, but it cannot solve all our problems for us. In fact, if we are not careful, it could end up making our problems worse – by institutionalizing bias and exacerbating inequality. Blockchain can, and should, change our lives for the better – but that will only happen if the application of new technologies to improve our businesses and our society is driven by a clear purpose.
Rebeca Fernández is an international speaker, a published author, and frequently gives media interviews, is quoted, & associate professor in MBA HR at the University of Cantabria, HR World Automation Summit, Vodafone, Spar Supermarket. Rebeca is also board member of the Blockchain Language Knowledge Foundation and Co-founder of Human Capital Blockchain.
Rebeca is also heavily involved in Blockchain projects that are related to HR and solving gender inequality. She is also the creator of “CLOSING THE PAY GENDER GAP CHALLENGE” that is intended to close the pay gender gap by 2030 by using Blockchain technology.