Let me begin with a quick statistical figure: Only 22% of AI Professionals globally are women, according to a study conducted by the World Economic Forum.
While I'm at it, let me present another statistical figure: The increase of Artificial Intelligence could result in about 58 million new jobs (with some jobs added and other jobs displaced) by the year 2022, according to a different study conducted by the WEF.
We definitely have plenty of people who are more than willing to take up these jobs. The question is this - How many of them are women?
Most of the time, AI ‘experts’ end up being male. Majority of participants in AI related seminars or talks are male. Most of the employees in Companies dealing with AI are male. When new projects or products are being brainstormed, there is very less female-representation when it comes to contributing ideas. Women are there, thankfully, but their number is very less.
There are so many reasons for this - Lack of interest, lack of motivation, lack of guidance, and so on. That is why we decided to start ‘AI For Women’ - To encourage more women to get into the field of AI, to help those who are already in the field to progress higher, and to figure out how to tackle the current issues that women face.
‘AI For Women’ is basically the result of an inspiration from my Dad, motivation from my Mom, and implementation by my sister (who mainly wanted to help me out, since she has more experience in this area) and me. It began as a Meetup Group in Bangalore, which, in less than two weeks, gained a 100-plus members, and continued to increase in strength. The interest shown by our members (including a few men) was very encouraging. We realised that there are many women out there who are interested in AI - They just need a comfortable space to learn and grow.
This realisation made me decide not to remain limited to a simple Meetup Group. I realised that we need to reach out to more women, not just in India, but worldwide. I want to help women develop necessary skills, or figure out how their individual skills can be used in the field of AI - Writers can do technical writing, orators can give talks, teachers can provide training, computer geeks can become developers… The opportunities are endless!
Most of all, we need more prominent female figures in AI to be role models for young potential women achievers. Through this initiative, I hope to provide a platform for women to learn from one another, connect with each other, stay motivated and hard-working, and thus, become the extraordinary leaders that AI needs.