Online safety and digital access key to achieving gender equality in today’s workforce

For Girls in ICT Day 2022, we explore how important online safety and digital access is in enabling women to thrive in the workplace.

By Good Things Foundation Australia · 27/04/2022

Woman in business attire using an iPad and laptop.

The future of Australia’s workforce is digital – it is expected that 1 in 4 jobs created by 2025 will be for digital technology workers, while 45% of all jobs by 2030 will require advanced digital skills. Yet, just 29% of the tech industry are women.

This inequality means women are missing out on future proofing their career paths. The ‘digital gender divide’ in tech is also holding back our nation’s economy, with research finding increasing gender diversity in this sector could grow Australia’s economy on average by $1.8 billion per year for the next 20 years and create 5,000 jobs.

The digital gender divide affects all industries – not just tech. The government’s Digital Economy Strategy aims for all businesses to be digital businesses, and it is expected that over 90% of jobs will use digital skills by 2030. As such, it is vital that all women are able to confidently and safely use digital devices and the internet.

The Girls in ICT Day 2022 theme ‘Access and Safety’ is putting a spotlight on how improving online access and safety for women can help bridge the digital gender divide and encourage girls to pursue careers using Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills.

Currently, women in Australia are more digitally excluded than men, including having less access to digital devices and the internet. This inequality is more pronounced for women who are on low incomes, older, women with disability, and for First Nations women

Without reliable, affordable access, women are not given the chance to develop their digital skills. This has wider implications for their careers, with the United Nations finding digital technologies offer “leapfrog opportunities” for women to increase their employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, one in three Australian women surveyed by eSafety have experienced online abuse in a work context. Many women have stepped away from online spaces and avoided advancing their careers due to fear of online abuse.

As our economy rapidly moves towards a digital-reliant workforce, women having safe, reliable access to digital tools and the skills to confidently use them is essential to create an inclusive, thriving society and economy.

The digital gender divide is solvable – but we must work together.

We’re looking for partners who share our goal of closing the digital gender divide to make this vision a reality. Get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.

Read more about the digital gender divide