The quicker technology advances, the faster women around the world will be left behind without the proper skills to succeed in the ever-changing workplace, according to a new report.
International nonprofit organization the Malala Fund, founded by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, launched the Full Force campaign Tuesday with a report titled “Why the World Works Better When Girls Go to School,” on the global state of girls’ education.
“We want girls to take part in creating the technology that will change our world — and who runs it," said Yousafzai, in the report which includes a forward from Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Large numbers of youth lack competency in the information-processing and digital skills that are becoming more necessary in the labor market, and low skilled workers will miss out the most due to automation of tasks, according to the report. The Malala Fund estimates a total 955.6 million girls (65% of girls worldwide) and young women under the age of 24 are currently lacking the skills they need for life and work. That means in lower- to middle-income countries, 75% of girls under the age of 24 are unequipped, and 93% of girls in low-income countries.
Researchers have pointed out that the economy will suffer if girls in developing countries don’t receive the education and technological skills required in the workplace. As much as 90% of jobs within developed economies require digital skills. Full Force references a July 2018 World Bank report that found women’s lifetime earnings could increase by $30 trillion if all women and girls were guaranteed 12 years of free education.
With the help of political leaders, economists, and business leaders, the Full Force campaign will work to make investing in girls’ education an economic priority.
The future of work will be different — and that means preparing girls today for the jobs of tomorrow. #FullForce, our latest report on why the world works better when girls go to school, with foreword by @tim_cook: https://t.co/uexV2E3JJ2. pic.twitter.com/pLxu2arVRb— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund) October 9, 2018
Although progress has been made to close the gender gap in school enrollment, girls are still less likely than boys to ever attend school, according to the report.
The Malala Fund is calling on the G20, an international group representing 20 countries dedicated to discussing international financial stability, to act on the issue ahead of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November.
Full Force provides an agenda for action for the G20. It includes tools for understanding the correlation between labor market trends and children’s education, and pushes for gender responsive education that trains teachers in gender sensitivity. The report offers information on how to close the education financing gap by asking countries with large girls’ education challenges, like India and Indonesia, to lead the way in to making sure they can make an effort to get young girls in classrooms. The Malala Fund also instructs the G20 to share knowledge between countries, expand gender research data tracking and reviewing progress.
Argentina spearheaded the G20’s first working group, which will focus on how to finance education and skills for life and work.
“The G20 should help ensure that technological change will not increase exclusion or social disintegration,” Argentinian President Mauricio Macri said.
Apple, which joined the Malala Fund in 2018, will back Full Force by helping deliver more research on the issue. The tech company is only one of the major companies working with Yousafzai’s organization. It's not the first time the organization has joined forces with a corporate partner to enact change —Starbucks teamed up with the Malala Fund in March to empower 250,000 girls and women worldwide to take on leadership roles.