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Celebrating International Women's Day

When we consider Information Ethics in the modern era, we can't ignore the importance of understanding the ethical dimensions of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and creating a socially just society that includes a focus on the empowerment of women. There needs to be a greater focus on job creation and promotion of women in technology based professions. Currently, the digital divide does not only stretch across economic inequalities, but also gender inequalities.

In the words of the Dalai Lama on International Women's Day 2022, "Science observes that women are naturally more prepared for compassion, because they are more sensitive to others' pain—more empathetic. So, biologically, women have more potential for compassion. These days, nurses and others who care for people are, for the most part, female. Judging from history, there would be less danger of violence if in future more leaders were women. Women leaders would take a more active role in promoting human values like compassion. This International Women’s Day let’s remember that in order for more women to emerge as leaders, the unequal treatment of women in societies throughout the world must come to an end."

This is an issue which Women in AI & Robotics specifically want to address when it comes to the technologies associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI), because the best way to counter gender discrimination (and other types of discrimination) in algorithmic bias, is to involve more women in the design, development and deployment of these emerging technologies. In so doing not only promoting inclusivity, but also promoting empathetic and compassionate considerations in these processes.

Authors: Umme Abiha, Dr. Teena Hassan, María Grandury

Another year has flown by and it's March 8th again. A lot of things have changed in the world, but in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics, the gap remains the same.

AI and Robotics are key technologies that are already part of our lives. They have an impact not only on individuals, but also on organizations, societies, and humanity as a whole. This influence is poised to increase in the coming years. Given this, one of the million-dollar questions to ask is - Are these technologies sensitive to the diversity of individuals and societies, and to the complexities and intricacies of the real-world and its problems?

Widely known cases including gender and racial biases have been reported in the media using AI which reflect the biases of those who build it. You may recollect the examples of biases in facial analysis technologies and the gender bias in an AI tool that scored applicants for technical jobs. Another study revealed that speech-to-text technology performed poorly when analyzing female speakers as compared to their male counterparts. Why? The models were built to optimize for accuracy on lower-pitched voices and taller speakers who exhibited longer vocal cords (characteristic of males).The only way to bridge this gap is to involve more women by breaking the barriers to their entry, by providing them greater access to information, education and opportunities.

A plethora of facts and figures clearly indicate that women are mostly impacted by Digital Transformation. 22 percent of the workforce in AI has a female representation globally as stated by WEF, 12 percent of leading machine learning researchers are female, less than 10 percent of AI Entrepreneurs in Germany & EU are female and according to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) fewer than 5 percent of girls in high school consider engineering or computer science as a career field. A lack of diversity in technology impacts everyone, not just women.

We do understand that while AI-Computers can imitate human intellect and behaviour, women are not well represented in a range of decision-making processes. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) we are ~100 years away from gender equality!!

We do hope we are not needed long before this time!

Removing barriers to enter technical fields requires cooperation from ALL levels of society since it impacts EVERYONE's lives.The need of the hour is to have all hands on deck to eradicate this gender gap from society, be it individuals, companies, nonprofits or government organizations.

Women in AI & Robotics is a network of experts and professionals. We are a global non-profit association head-quartered in Germany dedicated to the advancement of women in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Our mission is to close the gender gap in AI & Robotics and increase female representation and participation through mentorship, education, hackathons, and accelerator programs. We are working towards gender-inclusive ,ethical, and responsible solutions that benefit society.

We are a proud commitment maker and Coalition Partner of UN Women for Gender Equality. As an Action Coalition Partner, we represented Germany to #ActForEqual for gender equality.

“Gender Equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” - Kofi Annan

We envision a cross-national collaboration that provides women with the opportunity to network with scientists, researchers, industry leads and role models around the world.

With 650+ members world-wide and a rapidly growing core team of 34, we have chapters in Stuttgart, Berlin, Munich, Bremen, and Addis Ababa. Moreover, we are officially launching in 2022 chapters in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Waterloo. Another important pillar of our community is the DFKI, Germany’s top research institute in AI & Robotics, with whom we have formed a formal partnership.

With the objective of closing the gender gap in AI & Robotics, we have mentorship programs and organize workshops where experts from both the industry and the academy share their knowledge with the community and guide us to grow personally and professionally. We also have a startup accelerator where we provide women entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, mentoring and network to successfully realize their startup/business idea in the AI sector.In the program we cover foundational topics s.a.: Machine Learning, Python bootcamp, ethics in AI, marketing, law and how to make a great pitch to get investors. Our programs are very diverse, for example last year we also collaborated with the Goethe Institute to organize a hackathon and we are planning on conducting another one this year. In total, we held 29 amazing AI & Robotics events in 2021 and we already have a great lineup for 2022!

Visit our website to know more about these programs.

We are on the lookout for amazing people (yes, not women alone!) to join our community and make a difference. Joining our team will give you the opportunity to network with globally diverse women who are industry experts or researchers, participate in educational activities/workshops, become/meet mentors from amazing companies and universities around the world, and much more!

Are you already motivated about global networking, workshops about hot AI/ML topics, mentorship and other events? If you are keen on joining us right away, you can fill in this membership form, also present on our website.

If you would like to know more about us and follow us you can visit this link.

When it comes to closing the gender gap: “Together, Stronger!”

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