The tech industry has long been dominated by men, but women are increasingly making their mark in this space, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. However, the number of women working in the industry is still low, especially in technical roles. According to a 2022 study by McKinsey & Company, women hold only 26% of all tech jobs and only 15% of technical leadership roles.(1) This gender imbalance is not unique to the tech industry but is especially pronounced in AI, a relatively new field.
The lack of female role models and mentors in the industry can be a barrier to entry for some women. There is also the issue of unconscious bias, which can affect how women are perceived and evaluated in the workplace. Additionally, women in AI may face a lack of access to funding, networks, and resources.
To address these challenges, organizations such as WOMEN IN AI are making the change they want to see. Women in AI (WAI) is a non-profit organization that strives to promote diversity and inclusion in the AI industry. Founded in 2016 in Paris, France, by Dr. Hanan Salam, Caroline Lair, and Moojan Asghari, the organization has grown to include over 8,000 members in 140 countries. WAI provides education, research, and networking opportunities to empower women and minorities to become leaders, experts, and innovators in the field of AI and data.
One of the primary objectives of WAI is to ensure that the development and application of AI is ethical and responsible. By promoting diversity in the AI industry, WAI seeks to create more representative and inclusive AI solutions that benefit global society. The organization recognizes that the lack of diversity in the tech industry is a significant issue, and aims to bridge the gender gap by providing mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to women and minorities in the field of AI. Organizations that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) can reap multiple benefits, including attracting a broader range of talent and improving their performance. Research has shown that companies with high gender diversity outperform those with low diversity by up to 48% in terms of work performance.(2) Therefore, creating inclusive environments is critical for the success of most industries, in particular the tech sector.
In conclusion, women and other marginalized groups are breaking down barriers in the AI industry and better companies by doing so. By promoting diversity, inclusion and equity, we can create AI solutions representing the people they serve.