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3 Ways Online Learning Can Reduce The Gender Gap In Higher Education And The Workforce

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The topic of this article is “3 Ways Online Learning Can Reduce The Gender Gap In Higher Education And The Workforce”

  • According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, it would take women 132 years to reach full parity with men in the workforce.
  • The ability of women to reenter the workforce will depend on their access to the knowledge and skills necessary to do so.
  • Online education presents a priceless opportunity to level the playing field for women by introducing them to greater opportunities and prospects.

Women were among those most seriously impacted by the pandemic. Large numbers of women were forced out of labor, and overall, they lost more jobs than men.

3 Ways Online Learning Can Reduce The Gender Gap In Higher Education And The Workforce

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Two years later, they are still at risk according to the International Labour Organization, having been left behind in a “gender-unequal” employment recovery.

In contrast to pre-pandemic estimates of only 100 years, the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2022 reveals that assuming the current trend continues, it will now take 132 years to reach gender equality.

Equipping women with the knowledge and skills they need to re-enter the labor field and fulfill their full earning potential is crucial for accelerating an equitable recovery.

New insights reveal an increasing opportunity to address this challenge on a massive scale. Using data from Coursera, the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 identifies encouraging trends in online learning that could contribute to greater gender parity in higher education and workforce development.

Online learning is eliminating gender education inequities and preparing women for in-demand roles in the digital economy by reducing impediments for female students, boosting gender inclusion in STEM fields, and connecting women to growing skills and employment opportunities. How? Keep reading.

Removing Barriers for Women Learners

According to global Coursera data in the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, women’s participation in online learning has surged dramatically and is beginning to catch up to that of men in a number of nations.

Even as the gender employment gap widened, the number of women taking online courses climbed from 38% in 2019 to 45% in 2021, according to Coursera.

women learner

The 2022 study also reveals that gender disparities in online enrollment are “far smaller” than in traditional education.

Mobility, safety, and family responsibilities were cited as the key factors that drove women to see online education as more accessible than face-to-face education.

According to IFC research, 45% of women and 60% of female caregivers in poor countries said they would have had to postpone or abandon their education if online learning had not been available.

Over half of the learners in the study were in the lower 50th percentile of income, emphasizing the importance of accessible education in fostering equitable outcomes.

As broadband connectivity expands, online learning strategies, with their technological benefits and lower distribution costs, make it possible to reach women learners who would otherwise be excluded.

Improving Gender Inclusion in STEM Fields

According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, the enrollment and graduation rates of women from higher education institutions have increased during the past five years. There is nonetheless still a gender gap in higher education.

Women continue to be underrepresented in occupations with high demand, such as engineering and information and communication technologies (ICT). In addition, the poll finds that women are underrepresented in STEM fields, which provide the foundational knowledge for the fast-developing digital and technology job market.

Globally, the “fastest-growing employment categories” in 2022, according to statistics from LinkedIn, are in technology. In the future, nine out of ten vocations are anticipated to require digital capabilities.

Coursera data included in the Global Gender Gap 2022 study indicates that gender parity in online ICT training grew in numerous economies between 2019 and 2021, with Greece and Hungary showing significant gains in the proportion of women enrolled in ICT.

This is an encouraging trend that may narrow these discrepancies. In Saudi Arabia, a Middle Eastern nation, female participation in online ICT climbed from 9.2% to 16.1%.

Improving Gender Inclusion in STEM Fields

Despite this progress, much more must be done to close the gender gap in the digital world and facilitate a wider move to online education, particularly in developing countries. In India, for example, women’s online ICT enrollment increased slightly from 23.8% to 24.8%.

Expanding internet access could greatly boost the effectiveness of online learning, as only 33 percent of women in India have used the internet, compared to 57 percent of men.

In the next years, the Indian government’s emphasis on encouraging inclusive digital access and online learning will also make it easier to scale learning interventions that benefit female learners in STEM.

In addition, there is an opportunity to reevaluate strategies to encourage more women to seek degrees in STEM fields. The survey highlights the fact that men continue to be overrepresented in “male-dominated” sectors, particularly STEM fields, in both traditional and online formats.

According to our research, more female teachers can encourage more female students to pursue STEM and other high-demand fields. Women are more likely to enroll in courses taught by female instructors and to award those courses higher grades.

Connecting Women to Skills and Jobs of the Future

The Global Gender Gap Report from the previous year underlined the importance of “redeploying and re-employing women in emerging jobs” in order to establish a gender-equal recovery.

Future access to these roles will be facilitated for women by online education. The enrollment of women in Coursera’s entry-level credential programs surged considerably from 25% in 2019 to 40% in 2021.

These certifications are assisting women in acquiring skills for a variety of entry-level digital positions online, including IT assistance, software development, UX design, and social media marketing, that prominent companies such as Google, IBM, Meta, and Salesforce are creating to meet talent demands.

Due to the dynamics of online learning and remote work, women are now able to acquire skills for vocations that can be performed from any location, despite shifting work trends.

This year’s Global Gender Gap Report suggests that gendered learning profiles demonstrate inequalities between the abilities that men and women prioritize, indicating that women may have an advantage in this area.

Women are more likely to invest in “working with people” and self-management skills, such as “resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility,” which are among the top 10 job skills of the future, whereas men are more likely to invest in technology and innovation skills.


How does the World Economic Forum promote equality in the workplace?

The Forum is engaging with Partners to acknowledge the idea that talented and significant stakeholders may not resemble you or your coworkers.

The World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society prioritizes the development of prosperous, inclusive, and equitable economies and communities.

It employs an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice to combat exclusion, bias, and discrimination based on race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and all other sorts of human diversity.

Through the Partnering for Racial Justice in a Business program, the Forum is engaging with a global coalition of organizations to establish just and equitable workplaces for professionals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

  • Through the Reskilling Revolution, the Forum is preparing the global labor force with the necessary skills for future employment. The initiative is cooperating with more than 350 organizations to enhance education, skills, and employment opportunities for one billion people by 2030.
  • The Forum is committed to eliminating gender inequality in the workplace. Since 2006, for its annual Global Gender Gap Report, the Forum has monitored gender disparities in numerous countries. In countries such as Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Jordan, and Kazakhstan, the Forum has helped develop groups of accelerators targeted at eliminating the economic gender gap.
  • Through its relationship with the Valuable500, the Forum collaborates with the largest global network of CEOs dedicated to disability inclusion. Through initiatives like as the increasing adoption of best practises for digital accessibility and the incorporation of disability into diversity, equality, and inclusion plans, members are currently closing the disability inclusion gap.

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Aishwar Babber

Aishwar Babber is a passionate blogger and a digital marketer. He loves to talk and blog about the latest tech and gadgets, which motivates him to run GizmoBase. He is currently practicing his digital marketing, SEO, and SMO expertise as a full-time marketer on various projects. He is an active investor in AffiliateBay. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

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