Panel 1: Innovation and Infrastructure for and by Rural Women
Structural barriers and discriminatory social norms continue to constrain women’s decision-making power and political participation in rural households and communities. Women and girls in rural areas lack equal access to productive resources and assets, public services, such as education and health care, and infrastructure, including water and sanitation, while much of their labour remains invisible and unpaid even as their workloads become increasingly heavy due to the out-migration of men. Globally, with few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change.
Infrastructure and technology tend to reach rural women and girls last, even if vital for relieving their disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work and enhancing their economic opportunities. This situation is obscured by the lack of sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics in key sectors, such as energy, water and sanitation, and ICT.
The recent application of “smart” technologies into farming and agriculture practices provides a new way for practitioners to manage natural resources and hence, the economic profitability of the land. Smart farming and smart agriculture practices based on data collection will prove to be beneficial for water conservation and soil longevity. Moreover, the new Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are enabling many engineers and growers to take a more sustainable approach to the monitoring of livestock, crops, and soil conditions. These technologies are transforming rural areas by increasing the quality, quantity, and cost-effectiveness of agricultural production while concurrently addressing key environmental issues for small rural agribusinesses. It is anticipated that the forthcoming 5G technologies will lead to a broader adoption of precision agriculture and field monitoring systems. Farmers can leverage this data to make crop rotation and maintenance decisions, for example, this will lead to the reduced use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Panel 2: Transforming Investment for Gender Equality
It is estimated that between 5 and 7 trillion USD annually is needed to realize the SDGs. When it comes to gender equality, the financing gap is often as high as 90%. The call for private finance and investment to compliment public sector funding and investment has never been louder and new financial products and investment vehicles that have a specific gender lens are emerging and gaining traction. Strategies that focus on improving the lives of women and girls, closing the gender pay gap, or adding women to corporate boards have attracted more than $2 billion in public and private assets, according to a study released by investment firm Veris Wealth Partners LLC. That's up from $561 million in the same period a year ago, and just $100 million in 2014. However, “gender-lens investing” is still a relatively new space with room to grow. This session will explore opportunities to expand reach and scale impact.
Panel 3: The Future of work
Technological changes are fundamentally altering the job market, including the type of jobs that will exist in the future and the skills that would be required for those jobs. Some 50% of the jobs in the current market will no longer exist in a few years due primarily to these rapid advances in innovation and technology. With nearly one billion women entering the global economy in the next decade, they risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities due to gender-based discrimination, stereotypes and social and cultural norms. Similarly, diverse challenges in the informal workforce could be even wider, while also creating and strengthening challenges of decent work opportunities, paternal leave among others in the formal workforce. How is this going to impact women, and what can companies do to help them?