There is a long history of gender bias in industrial policy.
Trade and supply chain are largely dominated by men, holding almost all (99%) of procurement contracts in the world economy. This has created massive opportunities and innovation potentials from women.
There has been a wealth of inventions that were set aside historically because they weren’t “masculine” enough for the society, resulting in too little investments for technology that are made by or for women in the society. For example, the demise of electric vehicles around 1970s in the United States happened partly due to electric vehicles being marketed for women.
Care and services economy has been neglected due to it being regarded as “feminine work”. Subsidising forms of care work will help maximise social returns. This further supports a more inclusive view of the economy to navigate the complexities of development.
Political economy and industrial policy are interrelated and represent the biggest barrier.
Economics is essentially at the heart of politics, because the market is defined through political means. The political institution determines who benefits from change and development, which is an unfortunate situation because millions fall through the cracks of development.
Meritocracy is inherited today, with wealthier parents using the system to safeguard opportunities for their children to remain at the top. To tackle this, the living standard for every child/family should be guaranteed through the provision of free education, training, and housing.
Institutions have pushed grandiose industrial policies more overtly but have only been justified theoretically and without data. We need to be able to evaluate the returns of past industrial policies, in order to systematically determine suitable industrial policies.
Technology and automation have been a part of capitalism history; we should be prepared for it.
Female-dominated sectors in the labour market are less likely to be affected by automation. Some of these jobs such as care workers require some sort of skills and specialisations, including interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, which are hard to be replaced by machines.
To maintain our material progress, industrialisation is important. We have what we have today because of technological innovations from an industrialised market. For example, over 80% of the research and development (R&D) initiatives came from the manufacturing sector, including fertilizers, tractors, and more.
There is a positive outlook for strong industrial policy in the future. The potential is high in industries related to sustainability, for example shifting the focus to the utilisation of renewable energy (e.g., solar energy) enables cost-savings in the industrialisation process and helps capture new windows of opportunities.