Towards a Gender Equal Wales: Responding to a Transforming Economy

4th July 2022

Our economic world is transforming at an unprecedented rate.

In the face of major trends, such as digitisation and the need to transition to a green economy, we must ask ourselves what kind of economy we want in the future.

The transformation of our economy is having different impacts on women and other marginalised groups. Not only do the worst impacts of these trends disproportionately impact them, women and other marginalised groups are less likely to benefit from the opportunities created by this transformation.

As our economy, and our lives, become more reliant on technology, women face different risks of job losses and job changes brought about by automation while also being under-represented in the sectors that are likely to see growth in skilled, well-paid roles. Bias in digital technology and access to digital technology also pose significant risks to further entrenching inequality.

Women are also being impacted to a greater extent by the climate crisis and action to reduce emissions, while also being less likely to benefit from government investment and emerging jobs and training created as a result of net zero action.

Despite being most at risk from the transformative trends in our economy, too many key strategies and action plans that shape our response to both digitalisation and our transition to a green economy are gender-blind, showing little equalities analysis and therefore falling short in acknowledging existing inequalities and the impact of the policy on different groups.

Government and business must ensure that as we live through the next industrial revolution, we do not further entrench longstanding inequalities which continue to shape the lives of too many.

In this research, we set out a number of practical actions for government and employers can take to ensure a just transition to a green economy, while also responding to the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation.


  1. Welsh Government should implement the recommendations outlined in our Manifesto for a Gender Equal Wales, to address the root causes of gender inequality alongside the specific recommendations made in this report.
  2. Welsh Government should quicken the pace of implementation of the recommendations of the Gender Equality Review outlined in Deeds not Words, which provide a clear roadmap towards equalities mainstreaming.
To ensure digitalisation delivers fair outcomes:
  1. Welsh Government should require employers to carry out an analysis / evaluation of the equality impacts of automation within their workplace every 2 years. This analysis should be published.
  2. Welsh Government should pilot a programme for career switchers moving into digital, with a focus on women and other under-represented groups in digital jobs.
  3. Welsh Government should create a clear apprenticeship pathway into digital, up to degree-level qualifications. This pathway should be accompanied by targeted action to engage more women and other under-represented groups with digital.
  4. The UK Government should monitor and report on issues of bias in AI and digital technology:
    • A clear reporting system should be created for people to report bias.
    • Data on bias should be reported publicly to help understand the scale of digital bias and inform improvements to research, development and evaluation of digital innovation.
  5. Welsh Government, potentially via the Centre of Digital Public Services, should ensure that digital skills plans in Wales articulate a baseline level of digital skills, a target of the proportion of the population that should reach this baseline and a deadline for when this target will be reached.
  6. The UK Government should recognise broadband as an essential utility, in-line with electricity, gas and water, and put in place the relevant regulation to ensure all households have access to affordable broadband.
  7. Local Government should ensure access to digital equipment by:
    • Ensuring that all community hubs and schools have adequate equipment.
    • Implementing schemes to recycle and repurpose old digital equipment for those on low incomes.
To ensure a just transition to a green economy:  
  1. Welsh Government should create a clear career pathway into green STEM jobs, that is focused on supporting women and under-represented groups. This pathway should include improved careers advice and guidance, recognised qualification pathways, training and a clear apprenticeship framework.
  2. Welsh Government should work with Welsh HEIs to create a qualification in agroecology, to support greener agricultural processes and engage more women in the rural economy.
  3. Welsh Government must adopt a broader definition of a “green economy” that moves beyond decarbonisation to consider a genuinely low carbon Wales, and how this links to the foundational and well-being economy.
  4. Welsh Government must invest in the care sector to support a shift to even greener ways of working and deliver good, quality jobs.
  5. Welsh Government should unlock the potential of retrofitting homes to deliver social justice by:
    • Prioritising homes in the most disadvantaged communities to address issues of fuel poverty;
    • Set a target for a proportion of all jobs and training opportunities created through the retrofit programme to be filled by women and other groups under-represented in the construction industry.
  6. Welsh Government and Local Government should commit to democratising decision-making about climate change and the transition to a green economy, including greater use of citizen assemblies and other inclusive engagement tools.
  7. Employers should consider the equality impacts of changes to workplace policy and practice to transition to greener ways of working.
Read our Towards a Gender Equal Wales: Responding to a Transforming Economy report

This research brings into sharp relief how the transformation of our economy will impact women across Wales differently and potentially unfairly.

Other downloads
Read the full report
4th Jul 2022
Women to lose more and gain little by changes to the world of work
24th Sep 2019
Gender Equality Review