Similar to the gender gap seen in the tech industry, there’s also a shortage of women using the internet, Harvard Business Review reports. The proportion of women using the internet is 12 percent lower than the proportion of men; this gender gap widens to 32.9 percent in the least developed countries.
If women do use the internet and other industry products, they may face “a culture of misogyny online, including aggressive, often sexualized hate speech, direct threats of violence, harassment, and revenge porn involving use of personal/private information for defamation,” which serve as a natural repellant to female users.
However, Harvard Business Review says that these adverse effects can turn around if companies consider shrinking the gender gap. One major benefit companies can see by doing so includes boosting the global economy. Because women have greater “digital fluency” in the workplace than men do, digital financial services are able to increase women’s participation in the workforce, and market economy.
What this means for decision makers:
It might be a good idea to let some ladies into your business’s workforce – according to the Harvard Business Review, when women are locked out of digital products, businesses lose customers and product development gets stymied. Women are also less likely to be financially independent when the digital gender gap is wide, which can slow down production and sour morale within the business. Plus, pulling information from McKinsey Global Institute, Harvard Business Review says that when the obstacles that are constraining women from reaching parity with men are removed, $28 trillion of new value is added to global gross domestic product in 10 years.
Closing the gender gap in the workplace and in women’s usage of the internet will also play an important role in the current fight for gender inclusion in today’s world.
“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons,” said the World Economic Forum’s founder, Dr. Klaus Schwab, quoted by the Harvard Business Review. “Only those economies (that) have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper. But even more important, gender equality is a matter of justice. As a humanity, we also have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values.”