Feminist Visions of the Future of Work

  • Illustration: Rawand Issa
    Illustration: Rawand Issa

How much will the so-called fourth industrial revolution change the way we live and work? How can we cope with these changes and how can we shape a just future world of work?

Globally, discussions around the “Future or Work” have resulted in the creation of a range of scenarios, from optimistic to pessimistic, with some predicting more flexibility, opportunity and productivity while others predicting a rise of inequality, job losses and a huge digital divide. Although the topic is trending globally and has made it into the agendas of the World Bank and Multilateral Development Banks as well as global summits such as the G7, G20, Labour20 and the World Economic Forum, major blind spots can be seen in the discussions around it.

These discussions have been driven by digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence, focusing on how such technological changes will affect the way we work. However, technological change is just one of various global megatrends that will have a vital role in the changes to come. Climate change, shifts in economic power, demographic change, migration and the closing of democratic spaces are all major contributors in shaping our future. Moreover, not only have the discussions been primarily shaped by male perspectives and have overlooked key feminist concerns and critique, they have also been narrowly focused on OECD countries, ignoring the majority of the global south and the unique challenges and opportunities that each region will be faced with.

In the MENA region, capitalist and neoliberal economic systems have contributed to high rates of unemployment, lack of decent job opportunities, increase of austerity measures, lack of adequate social protection policies and the spread of informal and precarious work. This has greatly perpetuated economic injustice across the region with women and marginalized groups being the most negatively affected.

Immediate measures must be taken to improve the current situation and mitigate the risks that are associated with the changes which the aforementioned global megatrends will have. In that context, a feminist lens provides a vital opportunity in formulating innovative visions and alternative macroeconomic policies that put social justice at the center and attempt to tip the scales towards less exploitation, more resources and less hurdles for all in the future world of work.

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Future of Work

Tackling the issue of work has never been easy and is getting more complex as our world is getting more complicated every day. The factors that...

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Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Department for Middle East and North Africa
FES Berlin
Hiroshimastraße 28
10785 Berlin

info.nahost(at)fes.de

About FES 

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has a network of eleven country offices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and implements projects in a total of 14 countries. Some offices, such as Egypt or Sudan, look back at a history of more than 40 years of cooperation.

Offices in the Region