Industry 4.0 in Developing Countries: The Mine of the Future and the Role of Women

Industry 4.0 in Developing Countries: The Mine of the Future and the Role of Women
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Listing Type: Research Reports

Karina Fernandez-Stark | Vivian Couto | Penny Bamber

New digital technologies or industry 4.0 have come to dominate global discussions of trade competitiveness in recent years, and there is growing interest in their impact on employment and gender issues. Industry 4.0 technologies are seen to offer an opportunity to break gender-bias in employment, primarily by reducing previous technical barriers to female entry into the workforce. This research brief aims to contribute to this knowledge gap by examining how the uptake of these new technologies is and will impact female participation in one of these sectors - large scale mining in Chile. Driven by well-financed, global firms, the Chilean mining sector is well positioned to adopt these technologies and its experience should offer important insights regarding the potential impact on gender. Furthermore, the research brief employs a global value chain (GVC) approach, breaking the industry down into segments and roles to better understand where specific opportunities for using the technology to bring women into this male dominated sector can be found. The findings of this exploratory research indicate that, while female participation in value chains positions is one of the lowest amongst major mining countries (3.8 percent), the changing nature of jobs has created new opportunities for women. Public policy and company strategy must be aligned to break this cycle. Ensuring that the twenty-first century technologies can indeed help reduce the gender gap requires a commitment of leadership in the industry to proactively mainstream gender into the development for the new jobs of the future and in all industrial policy strategies for the developing of mining in the country.

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