New Delhi: Across the world, new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are disrupting entire industries. One of the major casualties of this disruption will be jobs: The rapid automation of routine tasks will result in several jobs becoming redundant. And new research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that women workers are more vulnerable to this automation than men.

In an IMF discussion note published last month, Mariya Brussevich and others estimate that globally, 180 million female jobs are at a high risk of being displaced.To show this, the authors compile data on task composition at work for a sample of 30 advanced and emerging market economies and calculate an index of routine task intensity (RTI), which quantifies the extent of routine tasks involved in jobs.

A higher RTI implies greater scope for machines to replace workers. Comparing female and male workers, they find that, on an average, women perform more routine tasks than men (the female RTI index is 13% higher), which means women face a higher risk from automation than men (11% for women compared to 9% for men).

There is significant variation within workers though. For instance, less-educated, older women (aged 40 and older) and those working in low-skill clerical, service, and sales positions are more vulnerable to being replaced by machines. The authors argue that women are exposed more to automation risks as they are under-represented in sectors like information communication technology, where job growth is expected. To lower these risks, the authors suggest fostering gender equality and empowerment. In particular, they recommend training women with necessary skills, especially in the fields of science and technology, and closing gender gaps in senior leadership positions.

READ | Gender, Technology, and the Future of Work

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