Addressing Gender Gaps in Artificial Intelligence

Applying steps from other industries and roles can help the emerging field of AI reverse the trend of gender inequality

We already know about gender gaps in leadership and certain fields such as engineering that need to be addressed. Now a new gender gap developing in the emerging in Artificial Intelligence (AI) threatens to create another divide that can persist for years. 
new report from the World Economic Forum found this gap in developing tools with Artificial Intelligence. As these types of skills are among the fastest growing specializations, it’s important to address the issue before it grows wider in the industry. 
“Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive,” the World Economic Forum wrote in its report. AI is a driver of change by developing technological tools such as neural networks, deep learning and machine learning. According to the World Economic Forum, only 22% of AI professionals globally are female. However, the AI industry can learn and apply steps from other sectors that are taking steps to address gender gaps, including: 

Addressing unconscious bias 

Research from ManpowerGroup shows the greatest barrier to progress is an entrenched male culture, according to a survey of leaders. To avoid masculine stereotypes in identifying candidates, organizations need assessments that are gender-neutral to ensure that leaders are identified based on traits that are predictive of future success in leadership roles. Attributes such as intellectual curiosity, drive, adaptability, and endurance prepare individuals, not their gender. 

Improve mentoring

In recent Right Management research, more than 200 leaders globally were asked about issues related to achieving gender parity in leadership. All of the women surveyed suggested “mentoring” as a key way that leaders can support women. Mentoring can be a powerful tool in creating a people-oriented workplace culture in which all employees are encouraged to contribute, grow, and find their own pathway to helping the organization succeed. 

Initiate career conversations

Women are disproportionately impacted by a lack of Career Conversations, according to a report from ManpowerGroup. Only one in four has had a career conversation with their manager on how to develop leadership skills, at a time when progress towards gender parity has stalled. “Women, We Have a Problem” presents new research and practical steps to help employers achieve gender parity starting with cost-effective career conversations. 

As the World Economic Forum states in its report, ensuring the full development of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies worldwide. Today, those steps can start now with decisions from individual business leaders.