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Women, automation, and the future of work

This report presents the first comprehensive gender analysis of the potential impact of technological change on women and men’s employment in the United States, with an emphasis on the likely effects for women, given the jobs where women predominantly work and given the disproportionate share of home and family care done by women. It continues IWPR’s gender analysis of the labor market and the divergent experiences of women of different races and ethnicities. The report also reviews gender specific trends in the gig economy and contingent work arrangements, analyzes the earnings gains of working with computers and digital content for women compared with men, assesses the recent progress of women and people of color in the three largest technical occupations, and discusses the opportunities new technologies create for balancing work and family as well as the new risks. The report ends with policy recommendations for improving the outcomes of this wave of technological change, sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution. An executive summary of this report (IWPR #C477), which highlights the study’s main findings and summarizes the policy recommendations, is available on IWPR.org. This research was made possible by JPMorgan Chase Foundation through New Skills at Work. The five-year, $350 million initiative focuses on accelerating demand-driven skills training, creating more opportunities for workers to obtain well-paying jobs, and strengthening workforce systems to better serve jobseekers and employers. The views and opinions expressed in the report are those of the authors from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates or the views or opinions of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.