A joint report outlines the impact of artificial intelligence on women’s working lives and warns against perpetuating today’s biases into the future.

Released today on International Women’s Day 2022, the report studies the impact of AI systems on women’s opportunities for work.

It reveals that AI systems can present both challenges and opportunities since they have a gendered effect on labor, care, and domestic employment.

Gendered stereotypes about women could impact prospects to reskill and upskill and pathways into STEM or AI-related careers.

 The report warns that governments, the private sector, and other actors must make a conscious effort to ensure women are not left behind in the digital economy and sheds light on possible steps to make that possible.

It also encourages organisations, citizens, policymakers, and academics to be proactive in facing the potential challenges of the future of work.

The report is authored by researchers from the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy at Cambridge and Oxford, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The key considerations of the report discuss that:

More applied research is needed

Before any further mass implementation of AI technologies occurs, research should show and raise awareness of the possible economic and societal benefits and challenges of AI.

A fair transition to the future of work will require governments, companies, and other actors to embed fairness, transparency, and explainability into AI systems used in the workplace.

Women must not be left behind in the digital economy

The report reveals the troubling gaps in women’s access to digital skills and jobs and how governments, companies, and societies, in general, should work to close these gaps. 

Contextual and geographical complexities must be systematically addressed when designing and implementing AI systems

Diverse labor markets, economies, cultures, and gender norms shape how workers experience AI systems in practice, meaning that AI-based tools and technologies will impact women’s work in a variety of ways across these settings.

People should systematically address these contextual and geographical complexities when designing and implementing AI systems. 

We must support skill-equalising work environments for women across society

The report also finds that some AI systems might offer employees unequal models of flexible working, which reinforces ideas of women as primary caregivers.

Governments, private sector companies, technical communities, academia, civil society, and individual users need to engage in and have responsibility surrounding the impact of AI tools and systems and the damaging gendered inequalities caused by AI systems.

AI systems and workplaces must not fuel gender inequality

The report shows the powerful connection between gendered stereotypes around women’s paid and unpaid work and how these stereotypes can be further shaped and encoded into technological systems.

 As a result of these findings, this report recommends that the role of women at work and their domestic and care responsibilities need to be more thoughtfully considered in creating suitable work environments for women and in emerging design, policy, and implementation surrounding AI technologies. 


For more information, please contact: Jacinth Chia: