Sustainable Development With the Digitalization of Women: Economic Empowerment, Information Technology, and Women

Sustainable Development With the Digitalization of Women: Economic Empowerment, Information Technology, and Women

Tijen Över Özçelik (Sakarya University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7068-4.ch009


There is no single field that is unaffected by the developments experienced in information and communication technologies today. However, the questions, Have women been affected by these intensive technological developments and technology utilization—which are efficient in every field—as much as men have? If not, how may this be reversed? and how may technology be made effective in making women economic? arouse curiosity. Therefore, the study was shaped by answering these questions. Another reason why the study took these questions as the basis is that women and technology are of profound importance in the sustainable development and growth of societies. Women's efficient use of technology is a must to turn the changes and developments experienced in information and communication technologies into opportunities and to reach the standards of the information society. Women's economic empowerment and technology were examined, the importance of the subject was emphasized, and recommendations were made within the scope of the study.
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Sustainable growth and development are core objectives of all societies. Similarly, sustainable development; the ensuring of economic growth; the efficient use of scarce resources; and the increase in the technological capital and also goals are of importance for all societies. Attaining these goals would imply investing in the human resource. Therefore, if the human being is an indispensable element in economic development, it will be impossible to provide development without women. At this point, it is an undeniable fact that women, who make up about half of the world population, assume a significant role in economic growth and development as a human resource. In this context, women’s empowerment should be among the essential objectives of societies and intensive studies on the training of women and their participation in the labor force should be carried out. The low labor force participation of women, who are acknowledged as an important element of economic empowerment and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries is striking. Nevertheless, introducing women into the labor force and hence into the economy and further ensuring the improvement of their positions in the family are regarded as a gain for societies and as a requirement for economic development.

In the studies conducted by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the World Bank, it is stated that the social gender inequalities in developing countries hinder economic growth and development. For instance, a report by the World Bank demonstrates that there is intensive poverty, slow economic growth, and low living standards in those countries where gender-based discrimination is experienced. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) revealed that there was a very strong correlation among the gender empowerment measure, gender-related development indexes, and the Human Development Index (Doğan, 2014). As the countries achieved production-based growth and development in the aftermath of the industrial revolution process, the countries who are information societies based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) attain sustainable development and growth through the information they produce and technology-intensive activities. And the production processes in these information societies perform are more efficient than that of other societies. Therefore, empowering women technologically and enabling them to become entrepreneurs will provide the momentum for a country to become an information society. In the process attaining, sustainable development and economic empowerment nationwide, and on a global scale. If one desires to succeed in new business skills as well as in production and service with world standards, which are required for the technological advances and trends experienced, studies should be carried out for the social gender balance in the field of informatics, as in many fields.

Given the technological advances and trends experienced today, it is supposed that Industry 4.0 will be effective in shaping the future. Industry 4.0 refers to those production systems which are described as the smart factories of the future; which are able to communicate; which can act autonomously; which are product-based; and which have a smart network. The real and virtual worlds; the globalized fall in product life cycles; rapidly-developing embedded software; social networks and autonomous decision-making intersect within the scope of a concept known as the Internet of Things (IoT). And furthermore industries are now being digitized (Hozdić, 2015). In such a case, it is essential that enterprises, governments and individuals adapt to these technological advances and to the new jobs that will emerge, which they will need, and require new skills. To eliminate the skill gaps that will be experienced with respect to the new jobs, it becomes important to include women, who cannot be represented adequately within the scope of technology-related jobs; in employment by empowering them with technology in addition to preparing training programs according to these new jobs. Given that especially the gender difference will also have a positive impact on the provision of the required jobs, positions, occupations or specialties of the future, it is of great importance to deal with it under the leadership of experts as academics, international organizations, professional service firms, and the human resources managers of big organizations (Baller, 2016). Though women empowerment is regarded as a key component in reducing poverty, it should not be considered only as a development objective but also as an instrument which encourages growth and supports managementr (Globalization, Growth & Poverty., 2002).

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