Will New Technologies Bring About More Equality?

It is becoming increasingly evident that significant disparities exist across a variety of contexts and geographical regions. This has brought greater attention to these issues. Of particular concern is the lack of universal access to technology, which is now imperative for the continued functioning of many organisations and educational establishments. As the world has shifted to digital operations to mitigate the spread of infection, it has become clear that far too many people lack the necessary resources to access essential technologies.

It is possible that technology may be part of the solution to some of the issues we face today. This is something that businesses, developers, and people from all over the globe have been considering even prior to the pandemic. With the help of technological advancements, many of the inequalities that have been affecting cultures for centuries might be addressed. This article outlines some of the technological interventions that could combat these issues.


Historically, smaller vendors have faced an uphill battle when competing with larger organisations due to a lack of resources. However, e-commerce sites are taking steps to change this, providing small businesses with new ways to promote and sell their products.

Taobao.com is a prime example of a massive online marketplace, owned by the Alibaba Group. This platform has become increasingly popular in countries with growing economies, as it provides small sellers with an opportunity to sell their products without having to pay the high fees charged by middlemen at conventional businesses.

The Globe Economic Forum recently published a report which indicated that small businesses located in rural and remote areas have seen a great advantage from Taobao and other e-commerce platforms, as they have enabled them to expand their customer base to a global scale. Furthermore, consumers in isolated areas now have access to products and services which were previously unavailable to them.

Separation Between the Rich and the Poor

Disparities in wealth are often used as an example of inequality. Numerous fintech offerings, however, seek to remedy the situation.

The recent developments in financial technology have been focused on increasing equal opportunities in the economy. An example of this is the emergence of non-traditional credit and loan options, which can assess an individual’s creditworthiness without taking into account their credit history; a resource that is not widely available to those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those living in emerging markets. These services instead use data such as an individual’s or a company’s online presence to determine their creditworthiness, making it easier for them to obtain loans.

Financial literacy can be improved and those without easy access to traditional banking services can still benefit from the advantages offered by fintech. Online banking is becoming increasingly popular and is now the preferred method for keeping track of finances and gaining interest. Additionally, many individuals are using financial management applications and online experts for advice on financial matters.

Disparities in Education

Access to educational opportunities is a significant concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the issue of many students not having access to a computer or a steady internet connection, which makes it difficult for them to participate in online lectures. Many schools are now providing pupils with computers and some companies are offering free internet connections to households with students, but further action is needed to tackle this problem.

The development of educational technology solutions to address global inequalities has been an ongoing process for some time. Schools in low-income and rural areas, for example, can often lack access to sufficient resources and training for their personnel.

The YouChange Foundation is committed to addressing the issue of educational inequalities by advocating for the installation of cameras in schools in major cities such as Beijing. This will enable students in low-resource and rural areas to access classroom instruction remotely.

Students with learning difficulties may benefit from the use of educational technology, in particular assistive technology. One example of this is tools which convert spoken language into written text, which can be particularly beneficial for those students with difficulties processing auditory language. This is just one of the ways in which persons with disabilities are able to take advantage of the use of assistive technology.

Freely Available Materials

Open access materials are an integral part of an effective educational system. The aim of the open-access movement is to improve the availability of educational resources such as textbooks, journals, platforms, data and tools. These can be accessed and used without cost. Copyright laws and licences for these materials are more lenient, allowing their use by educators and professionals in the workplace and classroom.

Textbooks can be prohibitively expensive for many students, so some teachers are opting to use alternative materials instead. An additional benefit is that previously inaccessible information is now accessible to all.

Possibilities of Gainful Employment

The outbreak of COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for increased telecommuting possibilities. However, the concept of remote working was already gaining traction prior to the pandemic for businesses and organisations in a variety of sectors.

What role does this play in tackling inequality? Remote working offers a valuable opportunity to those living in areas with limited job prospects. Through the use of technologies such as video conferencing and messaging applications, people are able to work remotely while still having the opportunity to stay connected with their colleagues.

The provision of remote working opportunities may help to promote gender equality in the workplace. The current pandemic has highlighted the increased burden of domestic and childcare responsibilities that are disproportionately shouldered by women, and working from home can facilitate a balance between their career and family commitments.

Advances in technology are helping to increase accessibility and promote equality in areas such as finance, education and career development. However, there is still much to be done to address the financial, gender, racial, geographical, educational and other barriers that lead to unequal opportunities in society.

Investment in technology and practices that seek to reduce inequality, which affects far too many people around the world, is likely to increase in the years ahead.

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