We need to redefine who the typical worker is in the bioeconomy. The sector needs female mentoring programs and networks for women to become more gender equal.
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The report “Redefining digital bioeconomy” shows the need to work with the interface between gender equality, bioeconomy and digitalisation. Digitalisation and automation of heavy jobs could have been one way to achieve a more gender-equal bioeconomy. But that has not been the case. Instead, the two already heavily male-dominated sectors have continued to be as male-dominated when they are joined in a digitalised bioeconomy.
Not only for women
We want to change that! The bioeconomy plays a crucial role in mitigating and managing climate change. To overcome the challenges we face, we must have access and make use of the competence and experiences of the entire population, not just men. And there shouldn’t be any parts in society that are closed to certain groups.
There is almost no literature investigating gender equality in a digitalised bioeconomy. With our report “Redefining digital bioeconomy”, we want to fill the gap.
The report highlights that the ongoing shift in workforce skills needed both in the bioeconomy and technology sectors could be used to actively redefine the stereotypical worker in the sectors.
We also recognised the need for female leadership, mentors and networks. This is widely emphasised as key factor to attract more women to the sector.
We suggest five action points:
- Increasing the number of female role models
- Mentorship programs
- Networks for young professionals and students
- Further research in the intersection of digitalisation, bioeconomy and gender
- Tools and methods to incorporate gender in bioeconomy-related education
The work will go on
We will now continue to work with norm-critical dialogue and discussions with the goal to produce a handbook for a gender-equal, digitalised bioeconomy. The target group for the manual is students – they are the future workforce in the bioeconomy and that’s where we must make a difference!