Even in the age of technologies like virtual reality, women all around the world only earn a small portion of what men make. According to Equal Pay Today, the average woman loses around $430,480 in income throughout her life.
Women don’t always enjoy the same privileges as their male counterparts. In the years to come, emerging technologies such as virtual reality will change that.
The Gender Pay Gap
Historically-rooted prejudices that are still present to this day are mainly responsible for gender-biased practices including pay discrimination. People often consider men’s work to be more valuable than women’s.
For every dollar that a white man makes, a woman only earns 79 cents. Most women of color earn even less. No matter what your line of work is and which industry you belong to, female employees will continue to suffer due to the gender pay gap. Companies often can’t justify these pay gaps by education or occupational responsibilities.
No one can fix pay discrimination overnight. But California-based VR startup Variable Labs believes that virtual reality is the quickest way to close the gender pay gap. They built VR experiences to help women gain the skills and confidence to ask for better compensation for their work.
VR-based enterprise training company Vantage Point is also working on a similar idea. Reports say that CEO Morgan Mercer is working on a VR program that can help women negotiate a higher salary.
Today, a number of industries use VR for a wide range of reasons. Thanks to Variable Labs, the tool now also helps women become excellent negotiators. In developing this skill, women can start earning as much as their male counterparts, thus reducing or closing the gender pay gap.
Samsung Gear VR supports Variable’s simulation. Using the immersive experience, women can slowly build confidence to demand fair compensation. The app is still in its infancy, but future versions might come with voice recognition technology, motion-tracking, and so much more. With these additions, future users should be able to receive constructive criticism on their overall delivery.
A few years ago, they showcased the app at the White House for the Hack the Pay Gap initiative started by the Obama administration.
Creating New Opportunities
As with most industries, men make up a chunk of the tech scene. Only 27% of Microsoft’s global workforce are women. At Netflix, around 47% of its employees are women. Tech companies might be notorious for being slow adopters of gender-equal practices. However, a lot of them are making an effort to hire more female workers.
To be exact, companies within the virtual reality industry are eager to raise the number of female leaders in their field.
The Women in XR Fund is a product of all the tech companies in the VR industry who’ve worked hard to promote equality in the workplace. This organization seeks to empower female leaders in the tech scene and promote gender equality in emerging tech. Recently, they’ve partnered with Augmented World Expo, which is the world’s largest AR and VR conference.
A woman’s ability to negotiate her own salary is important. However, it’s not enough to close the gender pay gap once and for all. Companies must have the initiative to create new opportunities for women. They must empower women to fill in roles that society has always reserved for men.