Gender balance: with Industry 4.0 and smart factory it is possible

The time in which the care of the house and the family was assigned (or imposed) to women is slowly leaving space for a type of society in which the talent of the female gender is held in strong consideration, going to flank the male one and reaching together more complete and richer results.

Industry 4.0 and smart factories are somehow reshuffling the cards within the industrial world, redefining, along with many other aspects, the role of women in an environment that has always been reserved for the male gender.

Gender balance

The expression gender balance contains a deeper meaning than what it seems to indicate at first sight: it represents gender equality which is based however on the enhancement of reciprocal differences and not a simple equality with consequent flattening of the different peculiarities.

➡️ The presence of different skills and abilities within any environment can only enrich the potential and consequently the results produced.

➡️ The important achievements started in the last century and perfected over the last few years have allowed women to reach jobs that have always been considered “for men”, perfecting them with different qualities and approaches.

What is changing

According to the 2018 report of the World Economic Forum, in relation to the gender gap (the difference between males and females within the working environment) Italy is positioned at 70th in the rankings. This is not a very exciting result, but it encourages to hope if we consider the increase of 12 positions compared to 2017.

✔️ Another fact that positively amazes is reported by the study from Sodexo Group: the 12% increase in employee engagement, the involvement of workers also with regards to the values ​​and the achievement of corporate objectives. Therefore, people who are satisfied, motivated and gratified can achieve better results. Indeed, workplaces with a high level of gender equality go hand in hand with the increase in employee engagement.

✔️ And finally, according to the CNI Study Centre, in Italy 39% of graduates in the Stem disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are women, in many cases extremely prepared and determined to achieve important results. In the same way the number of women working in managerial and top positions increases.

✔️ The numbers are still small, and it will take time to get out of the traditional man-work and woman-family stereotype, no longer topical and feasible, even more in male-dominated sectors.

How it is changing

The manufacturing world has always been considered a masculine environment because it is associated with production, therefore with concepts like fatigue or difficult and burdensome conditions. But the change is now underway.

One of the obstacles that are slowing down the change is certainly the grey area that still exists during events such as the birth of a child: in these cases, very often women are forced to choose between family and work. What are the solutions that can be introduced to avoid the phenomenon of abandonment of the workplace or career by working mothers?

➡️ The role of companies is crucial to provide valuable support to their collaborators, for example by introducing or upgrading company nursery, smart working solutions and corporate welfare to cover expenses (nurseries or babysitting).

➡️ In the same way, the active contribution of men is decisive for breaking the woman-family paradigm and achieving gender equality.

➡️ It should not be forgotten then that even politics should put in place targeted and more effective strategies to support women and, more generally, families who decide to have a child and who may have difficulty reconciling work and childcare, for economic reasons, logistically or simply because they can’t count on the help of grandparents, still the true lifeline for millions of families.

With its revolutionary scope, Industry 4.0 can act as a driver for the transformation underway: the smart factory is no longer a “world for men”, made up only of repetitive and strenuous jobs, but increasingly requires design skills, vision and strategy. In the coming years the number of female technical figures is destined to grow, to reach (hopefully) the gender equality, which by adding the diversity of men and women allows to obtain results and quality of work at a higher level.

Gender balance: with Industry 4.0 and smart factory it is possible


► Digitalic n°87 (09/2019) – “Quarta rivoluzione industriale: il ruolo centrale delle donne” di Claudio Gagliardini

► Automazione Oggi n°417 (10/2019) – “La ‘diversity’ nelle imprese” di Oscar Milanese

► World Economic Forum – Report “The Global Gender Gap Report 2018”

► Sodexo

► Centro Studi del CNI

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