Advancing Women in the Digital Economy: eLearning Opportunities for Meta-Competency Skilling

Advancing Women in the Digital Economy: eLearning Opportunities for Meta-Competency Skilling

Patrice Braun (University of Ballarat, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-220-6.ch016
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In view of the fact that women are playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, this chapter examines business skilling in the digital economy for women in general and women-led small businesses in Australia, in particular. With employability and entrepreneurial capacity of women increasing, so too is their need for a comprehensive skill set is increasing. It is proposed that business courses currently offered do not necessarily consider their target audience or include new economy considerations. This chapter discusses the need for meta-competencies that will allow women in both developed and emerging economies to operate more effectively in a changing work environment and an increasingly digital business environment. For meta-competency efficacy, it is further proposed that evidence-based learning models, gender-sensitive approaches to business learning, and collaborative uses of technology underpin content and (e-)business learning designs.
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The rise of globalisation, technological innovation, diffusion of information via the Internet, and related changes in business models and values, entrepreneurs everywhere are taking advantage of changing work environments and increased business opportunities. Today, with an economy enabled and driven by connectivity, a fundamental shift in business models is occurring whereby information, knowledge and relationships underpin competitive advantage (Pfeffer & Sutton, 2000).

Globalisation and deregulated markets have created a flat world (Friedman, 2006), which provides companies of all sizes – including small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) – an opportunity to participate in the market economy. Thus, the digital economy has the potential to become an increasingly level playing field. Information and communication technologies (ICT), and especially the Internet, allow knowledge to spread quickly, making it available to/by anyone with computer access and a telephone connection. As part of this phenomenon, women are becoming increasingly important in the global marketplace, not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors. Indeed, women are now considered the most powerful engine of global growth. As reported widely in the popular press, women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, China and India (The Economist, 2006).

The explosive growth of ICT in every aspect of society offers a unique opportunity to engage more women in the active workforce of both developed and emerging economies. New technologies lower the costs of information access and facilitate communication across geographic distance, allowing for more flexible working arrangements for those located far from metropolitan centres. In particular for women living in regional and rural areas, whose work patterns are frequently characterised by pluriactivity (Ross & McCartney, 2005), connectivity and new technologies can offer important flexibility in terms of both the times and the places where work is carried out.

ICT is also a primary enabling factor for business and e-business. In Australia, small business operators have increased by 6.5 per cent since 1995 and more women are involved in operating these businesses than ever before (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004). Despite these opportunities, ICT, web-enabled business or e-business are still poorly understood by Australia’s SMEs and the current landscape is characterised by low uptake of e-business by women (Braun, 2005). Although female-led enterprise use of computers is strong, women take less advantage of mobile business opportunities, as well as of the productivity and speed advantages offered by broadband (Australian Government, 2006).

Figure 1.

Small businesses in Australia; source: ABS (2004)

To prepare for the increasingly important role women are expected to play in the economy and to stay ahead of the rapidly changing technology environment it is imperative to understand, facilitate and manage women’s increasing role in the digital economy.



Women are fast becoming a more prominent and crucial part of business and the workforce, yet women are vastly under-utilised as an effective resource in terms of time spent in paid employment as well as career development in most economies, including Australia. Although women now make up the majority (52.3%) of the overall Australian workforce, this reflects the large numbers of part-time positions held by women, who represent only 35% of the fulltime workforce. A mere 12% of executive management positions and only 8.7% of board positions in Australian listed companies are occupied by women (EOWA, 2006).

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Jeffrey Soar
Varuna Godara
Chapter 1
Varuna Godara
Pervasive computing is trying to make the dreams of the science fiction writers come true—where you think of some type of convenience and you have... Sample PDF
Pervasive Computing: A Conceptual Framework
Chapter 2
Varuna Godara
The need for more and more flexibility (in terms of time and location) in business operations, contextbased services, decentralization of business... Sample PDF
Pervasive Business Infrastructure: The Network Technologies, Routing and Security Issues
Chapter 3
Deo Prakash Vidyarthi
The proliferation of the capable mobile devices has given the opportunity to utilize these devices for various purposes. The mobile devices being... Sample PDF
Computational Mobile Grid: A Computing Infrastructure on Mobile Devices
Chapter 4
Mark J.W. Lee
This chapter investigates the use of mobile digital technologies for learning, or mobile learning (mlearning), across a variety of education and... Sample PDF
Mobile and Pervasive Technology in Education and Training: Potential and Possibilities, Problems and Pitfalls
Chapter 5
Gaya Prasad
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in their presence. They are present in air, soil, water, and all kinds of living creatures. Varieties of microbes have... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Computing for Microbial Forensics and Bioterrorism
Chapter 6
Jonathan G.M. Pratt
This chapter presents the major findings of case study research investigating uncritical assessment of an institution-wide learning management... Sample PDF
Falling Behind: A Case Study in Uncritical Assessment
Chapter 7
Yvonne Lee, Martin Kornberger
In the rapidly changing digital marketplace, firms increasingly try to look for new ways to acquire, engage, and retain their consumers. In doing... Sample PDF
Strategizing in the Digital World: Aligning Business Model, Brand and Technology
Chapter 8
Helena Halas, Tomaž Klobucar
This chapter explores the influence of pervasive computing on companies and their businesses, with the main stress on business models. The role of... Sample PDF
Business Models and Organizational Processes Changes
Chapter 9
Te Fu Chen
To date, identifying barriers and critical success factors (CSFs) and integrating business model in implementing e-business for SMEs, have not been... Sample PDF
The Critical Success Factors and Integrated Model for Implementing E-Business in Taiwan's SMEs
Chapter 10
Lawan Ahmed Mohammed
The change in physical structures of computing facilities into small and portable devices, or even wearable computers, has enhanced ubiquitous... Sample PDF
Security Issues in Pervasive Computing
Chapter 11
Grace Li
Pervasive computing and communications is emerging rapidly as an exciting new paradigm and discipline to provide computing and communication... Sample PDF
Deciphering Pervasive Computing: A Study of Jurisdiction, E-Fraud and Privacy in Pervasive Computing Environment
Chapter 12
Reima Suomi, Tuomas Aho, Tom Björkroth, Aki Koponen
Accurate identification of individuals is a cornerstone of any modern society. Without identification, we cannot recognize the parties of different... Sample PDF
Biometrical Identification as a Challenge for Legislation: The Finnish Case
Chapter 13
Antony Glambedakis
This chapter sets out to inform the reader about the impact of pervasive computers in aviation passenger risk profiling. First is an overview of the... Sample PDF
Pervasive Computers in Aviation Passenger Risk Profiling
Chapter 14
Penny Duquenoy, Oliver K. Burmeister
There is a growing concern both publicly and professionally surrounding the implementation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and... Sample PDF
Ethical Issues and Pervasive Computing
Chapter 15
Phillip W.J. Brook
This chapter explores the implications of knowledge sharing in an era of pervasive computing, and concludes that, perhaps counter-intuitively... Sample PDF
Knowledge Sharing and Pervasive Computing: The Need for Trust and a Sense of History
Chapter 16
Patrice Braun
In view of the fact that women are playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, this chapter examines business skilling in the... Sample PDF
Advancing Women in the Digital Economy: eLearning Opportunities for Meta-Competency Skilling
Chapter 17
B.K. Mangaraj, Upali Aparajita
The future of pervasive computers largely depends upon culture studies of human societies. This forms a challenging field of social research because... Sample PDF
Cultural Dimension in the Future of Pervasive Computing
Chapter 18
Genevieve Watson
Pervasive computers cover many areas of both our working and personal lives. This chapter investigates this phenomenon through the human factors... Sample PDF
Outline of the Human Factor Elements Evident with Pervasive Computers
Chapter 19
Kalawati Malik
This chapter analyses the impact of computer and video games on the development of children. First introductory part of this chapter informs its... Sample PDF
Impact of Computer and Video Games on the Development of Children
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