A look at how artificial intelligence has a gender bias problem.
Women have been significantly underrepresented in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in industry, academia, and entrepreneurship. This disparity is more prominent in technical and leadership roles within AI and technology. Reports from various sources have indicated that women represent around 20-25% of the workforce in AI-related roles, though this figure can vary widely depending on the country, sector, and specific area of AI.
The scenario for women in AI is complex and has multiple dimensions, including representation, accessibility, advancement, and influence. However, a myriad of individuals, groups, and programs are earnestly striving to confront and alleviate this gender imbalance, advocating for a more diversified and inclusive environment within the domain of AI.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has discussed how the underrepresentation of women in AI has implications for the development of AI technologies, contributing to the creation of biased systems and algorithms that may not adequately represent or consider women’s needs and perspectives.
Efforts have been underway to make education and opportunities in AI more accessible to women through coding boot camps, online courses, and scholarships specifically aimed at women and girls. However, challenges still exist, including addressing the barriers women face in accessing education and opportunities in the first place.
Women in AI are contributing significantly to the development of the field: creating impactful solutions, research, and innovations, addressing issues like bias in AI models and algorithms to create AI solutions that address social issues and inequalities, and ensuring ethical considerations in AI developments.
FS Studio asked AI to produce an image of an CEO/ Tech Founder. Here is what it produced:
We then asked it to produce an image of an AI team of employees. Here’s what happened:
Women have reported that they consistently encounter challenges during recruitment in AI where they have to consistently reassert their credibility and expertise when working in a male-dominated work environment (Deloitte, 2022). As a result, there is a lack of motivation in women to retain AI jobs. The main reasons women leave their artificial intelligence roles include male-dominated work culture fatigue, sexual discrimination, gender pay gaps, and a lack of role models in higher-level senior positions.
There are AI-based career guidance platforms that can help women identify career opportunities and develop the skills needed to succeed in their chosen field. AI-powered job matching tools can help connect women with job opportunities that align with their skills and experience.
Women working in AI are often faced with challenges in career progression, including a lack of mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, gender bias, and a pay gap. Organizations have been implementing policies aimed at mitigating these challenges, such as equal pay initiatives, flexible working conditions, and women’s development programs.
AI has the potential to mitigate the company gender and leadership gaps by removing bias in recruiting, evaluation, and promotion decisions; by helping improve retention of women employees; and, potentially, by intervening within the everyday interactions that affect employees’ sense of inclusion.
Efforts are ongoing to increase diversity in AI, with a focus on promoting gender equality, fostering inclusive environments, and addressing the challenges and barriers faced by women in the field. The continual push for diversity, equity, and inclusion in AI is crucial as it will not only help create balanced and equitable working environments but also lead to the development of more robust, fairer, and inclusive AI systems and technologies.
Jan Iverson is Head of Studio at FS Studio and an award-winning product leader with over 20-years of extensive experience in digital media and marketing, with a specialization in the design and development of AR, VR and 3D activations: mobile apps, games, LBE, sales tools, digital twins; with XR cross-platform content development, and a track record of success in leading award-winning digital creative teams. Virtually Human is her bi-weekly series.