Using Tech During COVID-19

Woman wearing mask
Mask wearing is obligatory in most countries during the pandemic outbreak

Using Tech to Help Women, Minorities, and Young People During COVID-19

COVID-19 is a virus that doesn’t discriminate between who it infects, though there are certain people who are considered more vulnerable, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised. Similarly, the economic effects of COVID-19, such as people getting fired or furloughed from work, can in theory affect everyone, but in practice, specific groups are considered the most vulnerable. Women, minorities, and young people are all groups that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women in the US, for example, experienced a 49% greater loss of work time than men during the pandemic, according to a study conducted by Cleo. As a result of stress and caregiving responsibilities, among other things, 617,000 women left the workforce in September 2020, compared to 78,000 men.

Owl Labs conducted a different study that showed that men who work full-time from home are 157% more likely to earn over $100,000 than women who work under the same conditions.

Tech companies have always assumed some level of social responsibility, but COVID-19 has brought their commitment to the front lines.

Graduating students or young professionals began 2020 full of hope and aspirations that were quickly crushed with the onset of COVID-19. In April 2020, the US unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds reached a devastating 27.4%. By October 2020, it had recovered somewhat and dropped to 11.7%, but that is by no means considered good. (By comparison, the overall unemployment rate in April was 14.7%, and in October it dropped to 6.9%.)

Where Tech Comes In

Tech companies have always assumed some level of social responsibility, but COVID-19 has brought their commitment to the front lines. Moreover, people expect tech companies to make a positive impact on the difficult situation, both on global and local levels.

COVID-19 virus
COVID-19 virus shaped like planet earth

Fortunately, tech companies have stepped up to the plate. Zoom, for example, lifted the 40-minute limit for free users in the early stages of the pandemic. It did so again before Thanksgiving so families wouldn’t have to cut their virtual get-togethers short.

PwC launched a free digital fitness app for its employees to keep them motivated and healthy as they were working remotely.

SaaS startups have already developed technology that can encourage diversity and equality, and since the pandemic, this technology has taken on more powerful significance. Those groups that are more likely to suffer from the effects of COVID-19 can use SaaS technology to expand their opportunities.

For example, in this climate, it can be hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to raise the funds they need to create new leads and marketing strategies. The Ukraine-based startup, Reply, offers a LinkedIn Email Finder that helps entrepreneurs with effective lead generation at a fraction of the traditional cost.

Preply is another startup aimed at expanding work opportunities by making location irrelevant. One of the main drawbacks of applying for a job in another country is the language barrier. Learning a new language can be very costly, so Preply tries to help by serving as a platform for language tutors and students to collaborate at affordable prices.

Technology is Here to Stay

While we are (hopefully) at the end-stages of COVID-19, the remote workforce is not likely to be running back to the office so quickly. The employment problems that were created are also not likely to be resolved so quickly. Therefore, the technology that has been developed and honed during the past year will undoubtedly be needed more than ever. In fact, this technology will likely become an integral part of the way businesses operate from here on out.