Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Investing in Women’s Lifelong Learning Journey

As we step into the third year of the pandemic, organizations need to re-imagine their reskilling and upskilling initiatives to address the unequal impact the pandemic and digital transformation have had on working-age women. 

The Mental Wellness of Women Hangs In A Balance 

When the world went into an indefinite lockdown, childcare and domestic services were put on hold leaving working women to balance their household and work responsibilities

Additionally, the unsteady status of the global labor market left women in a constant state of anxiety over layoffs and furloughs. 

Consequently, women feel the need to work around the clock thus increasing their risk of burnout. 

With 2022 around the corner, organizations must understand that their success is heavily dependent on their support for their employees’ lives outside work

As such, organizations must reimagine their talent development and retention strategies to address two key issues: 

  1. Empower women to become better employees, and 
  2. Equip them with the power skills to balance their mental and social wellness.

Women in Leadership 

Despite a growing gender gap in employment, the gender gap in learning is narrowing. 

In the past two years, more women have pursued their lifelong learning journey including reskilling or upskilling their leadership and management skills

Whether their female employees remained at work or took a career break throughout the pandemic, organizations must refocus their learning and development approaches to ensure that their working women are equipped with the time and right resources to learn. 

After all, working women are “today’s middle manager and tomorrow’s senior leaders that companies have invested heavily in developing and retaining,” said Krentz, Kos, Green, and Garcia-Alonso of the Boston Consulting Group. 

Their ability to juggle work and household responsibilities makes them uniquely qualified to be agile, adaptable, and empathetic leaders

Women in Entrepreneurship 

Southeast Asia is amongst the fastest growing and most diverse economies in the world. It is also home to a growing number of women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (WMSMEs). 

However, a study conducted by Associate Professor Grace Lee concluded that women continue to struggle in this male-dominated sector because of a lack of entrepreneurial and digital technology skills, and hesitation from investors to invest in WMSMEs. 

As such, it is vital that learning and training opportunities are created to address the skills mismatch and/or gap that female entrepreneurs face. 

It is clear that both the pandemic and digital transformation have fundamentally altered the way women approach learning. Today’s lifelong learning is a necessity for women to remain competitive and adaptable as the global economy evolves. 

Thus, we must invest in women’s learning journey because the future of learning is incomplete without women. 

Michelle Low
Michelle Low is a Malaysia-based writer and educator, with experience in interactive learning and archaeogaming.