Technology disruptions are transforming how we live our lives. Even if we may realize or not, we are benefiting from the breakthroughs in technology. As a woman, I feel blessed to be witnessing the technology disruptions and experience it in our daily life. In the last decade or so, there have been many groundbreaking business disruptions enabled by technology such as smartphones, high-speed internet, taxi apps, social media apps and so on. These innovations have not only transformed lives of billions of people across the world but also empowered women by making their lives easier, safer and more productive.
Here are key technology led business disruptors empowering women specially working women and are contributing indirectly in closing gender gap in workplace and society.
1. Taxi hailing apps. [Uber, Ola] Increase mobility. Affordable and safe travel.
2. Digital wallets.[Paytm, Freecharge] Money at your fingertips rather than wallet
3. Online Retail. [Big Basket, Myntra]Freed time from shopping. Better work life balance
4. Social Media apps.[Facebook, LinkedIn] More business and networking opportunities
5. Freelancing apps. [ Upwork ]. Flexible work time and work type opportunities.
6. Free Blogspace [ WordPress]. Blogging revolution – food, fashion, you name it blogs
7. Messenger apps [Whatsapp] . New ways of selling. New business opportunities
8. Food ordering apps[ Fresh Menu] : Less time in kitchen, more time for yourself.
9. Wearable tech [Fitbit]. Helps in staying fit and watching your diet.
10. Location tracking and safety apps[Staysafe]. : Track location and SOS calling.
11. Home and Local services apps [Urbanclap, Housejoy]. Order online, get serviced at home
Here is how these technology and business disruptions have empowered women:
1. Making day-to-day travel easier, safer and affordable
Before Uber and Ola, Autos and public transport buses were the only refuge of women for day-to-day travel. Public transportations do not give you flexibility of traveling at your choice of time. Autos are not safe and reliable. Hailing taxi through an app on your smartphone is relatively safer(not completely though), highly flexible and affordable. Taxi apps have made women more independent and in control of their day-to-day travel plans.
2. Improved work life balance for working women
It is a reality that working women are managing 2 full-time jobs, one at home and another at office. While there is little scope for maneuver to free time at office, one can work to save time spent in managing daily household chores. The boom of internet companies offering products or services delivered to your home have empowered women by helping them save time spent in managing household responsibilities. Online ordering and home delivery of key recurring purchases save time spent in physically visiting stores and shopping. This extra time gained can be spent with husband, children and on themselves. .
3. Improved safety and ability to get help in case of emergency
All smartphones are equipped with GPS and there are many safety apps which tracks your location and enables you to make SOS call in an emergency. Similarly school buses have GPS installed and you can track location of buses in which your children are traveling.
4. Flexibility in work and choice of new career opportunities
Women need flexibility of work hours, location and type of work during different stages of life. New economy jobs has empowered such women. There are many more options of part-time work through freelancing job marketplaces such as Upwork which enable women to work online and choose place, time and hours of work which suits their needs. Women are also able to choose and pursue new careers such as blogging through free blogspace providers such as wordPress. New channels of sales and marketing such ass Facebook, Instagram and whatsapp have empowered women running small businesses.
Some desired futuristic innovation and Tech disruptions which would really empower women and make their lives better.
1. Artificial Intelligence based products in following roles:
- Virtual assistant : Assist us in running our daily lives. Take care of reading emails, sets reminders, reminds us for urgent tasks, tracks school buses , makes to do list and so on.( a la advanced version of Siri)
- A virtual friend, philosopher and guide : Somebody who can keep us company all the time, somebody we can talk to and share our feelings( a la movie ” Her”). Built in intelligence to advice on important matters and help us in making key and trivial decisions. (a la IBM’s Watson)
2. Advanced robots as house helps : Helps in cleaning, cooking, even babysitting.
3. Automated kitchens: Women really need some path breaking appliances which are affordable and reduce significantly the time spent in kitchen. Indian cooking is really time intensive and women desperately need next generation intelligent appliances. Wishlist – Roti maker, Dosa maker, currymaker.
4. Driverless cars : It is around the corner but hopefully is available soon in developing world too. Many women don’t know how to drive and not being in driving seat also give you extra time which can be utilised to get work done. Driverless cars might also be safer than traveling in taxis with drivers who are strangers to you.
Technology is touching and altering everybody’s life-like never before and I am a big fan and an early adopter of technology led products/services. I truly hope technology continues to keep disrupting the social order and keep empowering women and helping them in closing the gender gap.