Artificial intelligence offers the possibility of counteracting gender-specific prejudices that have long been pervasive. Artificial intelligence will be the next great revolution that would change the world. Like any other revolution that has reformed the world’s perspective, AI would be an encompassing force opening up new possibilities on the frontier. But just like any other revolution, there is an opportunity to contribute Women in this technology world would either be forgotten or not recognized is definitive.
If we have to look through history, we will see how women’s contribution to shaping the world is seen. Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Hedy Lammar Maria Bocnkerva, Sarah Fulton, Sybil Ludington, and Deborah Samson are some of the notable names who have reformed the world in various fields but are either forgotten or lost in the male-dominated world.
Yet an uncanny similarity can be observed between the past and the present. In the top companies dominated by AI, men are at the forefront of management. Apple, Amazon, Tencent, Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba have made profits over the years, but not a single profit can be made under the leadership of a woman.
A PwC poll found that 78% of students surveyed at UK universities could not name women in tech.
A survey by JobsForHer showed that for the entry-level position the employment opportunity for women is only 30%, at management level 10% and at management level only 1%. This means that as the prospect of leadership increases, the opportunities for women decrease.
According to a PwC report, only 23% of people working in STEM roles in the UK are women, while only 5% of leadership positions in technology are women.
A report by UX Collective titled “Overcoming the Challenges of Being a Woman in Tech” said that in 2015 only 16.6% of women’s representation was offered by Microsoft, 10% by Twitter and only 17% by Google.
No equal opportunities
Just like in any other industry gender biases are permeated also in the technology sector. This is very obvious considering how the tech world is said to be male dominated. The JobsforHer survey found that 82% of women who work in the technical field feel unheard of in their work. Because of the pre-existing gender biases that women struggle against on a daily basis, this subconscious bias prevents women from improving their skills and experiences. Because their skills and contributions are not recognized, women often feel less motivated to perform better or to participate in the team. Without a representation of equal opportunities, the chances of women developing mental health problems have been rated by experts as extremely worrying.
The challenge of getting back to work
Often times, women have to hold back from their careers due to unavoidable circumstances. This is very noticeable when working mothers have had to take a break or when the man’s family is reluctant to do the woman’s job. As a result, they acquire the new skills required for the job, which leads to a loss of confidence. Because of this trust gap, women often underestimate themselves when performing tasks that value their skills and experience. You refuse to take the lead in both the team and management.
Studies have shown that women emphasize themselves in performance appraisals. Even after eight to nine years of experience compared to their new male counterpart, women are made to underestimate themselves.
According to a PwC research report, only 27% of female respondents are considering a career in technology compared to 62% of male respondents.
To counteract this, organizations need to encourage their workers to take on new roles and leadership positions. Organizations also need to focus on improving skills, especially when they need to strike a balance between home and work.
Challenges in the educational level
Any bias thrives at the educational level. The prejudices exhibited at the educational level or during learning would have lifelong effects that would lead individuals to question their abilities.
PwC’s Women in Tech research report observed three themes in conducting the research.
- Girls less often studied MINT (natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics). Of the 2,176 students, only 30% of the women were studying subjects related to ATEM.]
- Women are less likely than men to consider a career in technology. Only 27% of respondents were considering a career in technology compared to 62% for men.
- Lack of female role models as the main barrier for women to take technology courses. Only 22% can name a famous woman who works in technology.
The beginning of a new future
With the challenges ahead, it is evident that the struggle to end gender bias would be lengthy but not impossible. At the educational level, institutes must employ teaching methods that inspire women to read about technology. During training, institutes must also provide information about women who helped shape the technology so that students can get inspiration for learning technology.
At the organizational level, an awareness of the need for models with equal rights must be created. A gender space would allow women to recognize their skills and take responsibility. Recognizing women’s proposals would also ensure equal participation Women in the tech world.
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