Developing Girl’s Digital and AI Skills for More Inclusive AI for All

The AI sector has a serious problem: lack of gender inclusion and equity for girls. While AI-powered technologies hold enormous potential to improve the lives of children, as UNICEF’s draft Policy Guidance on AI for Children illustrates, this can only be achieved if action is taken to address current imbalances in the AI ecosystem, including gender bias and discrimination. Evidence indicates that if girls are not involved in the design of AI systems in a meaningful way, systemic gender biases will continue to be perpetuated. For example, it is estimated that 85% of AI projects will deliver erroneous outcomes due to bias by 2022. The need to promote equality and greater societal representation in the AI sector is urgently needed, as further studies show that only 12% of leading machine learning experts are women and globally, only 22% of AI professionals are female. This reality highlights the need for developing girls digital and AI skills to minimize the missed opportunities they will face in the future job market and digital economy, without a level playing field.

Special attention needs to be given to ensure that girls are included in AI literacy programs, given their underrepresentation in digital literacy programs generally. The UNICEF – ITU – EQUALS report Towards an equal future: Reimagining girls’ education through STEM (2020), confirms that girl’s career expectations reflect gender stereotyping, and estimates that only 18% of women who are students in tertiary institutions throughout the world pursue STEM fields compared to 35% of men. A gender -responsive and integrative approach in STEM education is needed to unlock opportunities for girls to participate in the design and implementation of digital solutions. In particular, AI-enabled solutions – feminist AI – should be developed by and for girls and young women, so that their needs are met in an empowering and safe way, and gender bias is minimized. To support this necessary sea change towards gender-transformative AI, the webinar will focus on the barriers, opportunities and promising practices for increasing girl’s digital and AI skills. To ground the discussion, the panel will feature girls in the AI field to share their perspectives and successes.

Speakers, Panelists and Moderators

    Senior Advisor, Gender Equality
    United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
    Founder of Technoladies; WEF AI Youth Council Member/Representative of Turkey, Diversity Advocate, and AI4ALL alumnus
    Founder at The HopeSisters, AI for good advocate, Mental Health Change Maker
    The HopeSisters
    Alisha Arora is an ambitious 14 year old on a mission to leverage AI to better support youth mental health. She is currently researching at MIT’s AI lab to diagnose mental illness. Alisha is also working towards detecting suicidal ideation in social media content to prevent suicide. As an ardent philanthropist she founded her own non-profit organization, The HopeSisters. Their passion for supporting children in foster care has led them to gain recognition on national television and from government officials.
    CEO/Founder, Women at the Table and Co-Founder, Alliance for Inclusive Algorithms
    Caitlin Kraft-Buchman is CEO/Founder of Women at the Table, and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Inclusive Algorithms. The < A+ > Alliance, founded 2019, is a global coalition of technologists, activists and academics who champion Inclusive AI and Affirmative Action for Algorithms so that we come closer to creating gender and racial equality in a world where machine learning does not wire an already biased system into our future. Alliance are leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition for Technology & Innovation. Women at the Table, founded 2015, is a growing, global gender equality & democracy CSO based in Geneva, Switzerland focused on advancing feminist systems change by using the prism of technology, innovation & AI, and exercising leverage points in technology, the economy, sustainability & democratic governance. Caitlin is also the co-founder of the International Gender Champions, founded 2015, based in Geneva with hubs in New York, Vienna, Nairobi, The Hague and Paris, a leadership network of female & male decision-makers that break down gender barriers for system change.
    Senior Adviser of Development Policy: Digital Cooperation, Technology and Innovation
    Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
    Co-founder and former director
    STEM Academy
    Awarded Young Digital Leader by the Chilean Government, Belén is co-founder and former director of STEM Academy, a youth organization dedicated to promote interest in STEM fields in boys and girls, creating spaces in underserved communities where science and technology fields are encouraged and celebrated. She is currently a member of the prospective committee of the Youth Academy for the Future, held by the science commission of the Senate of the Republic of Chile and works in a cool chilean startup of IA for the retail industry.
    Director of Center of Cyber Security and research assistant professor
    New York University
    Hoda A.Alkhzaimi is currently the Director of Center of Cyber Security in New York University AD and a research assistant professor in New York University. She served in different posts for research and development in the Technology development sector for the past years, She also played a specific role in developing Cyber Security and Cryptology research and development ecosystems. She headed the Department of Research and Development for Cyber Security and Cryptology in different national initiatives in the United Arab Emirates along with her associations to different security initiatives nationally and internationally. She consults for special projects with national and international technology development initiatives. Alkhzaimi has a specific expertise in cryptology; cryptanalysis, constructing and validating security hardware and software components, constructing trusted security architectures for different environments in different products for the respective industries. Hoda. Alkhzaimi obtained her PhD in Cryptanalysis from Denmark Technical University. Her current research interests include Space, Aerospace, and UAV and autonomous systems security, constructing and analyzing cryptographic primitives, validating and investigating links between different cryptanalytic approaches and utilizing cryptographic primitives in different cybersecurity architectures as in Internet of Things and big data analysis among others. Her research includes analysis of the effect of machine learning techniques on improving security analytics. Hoda is the president of Emirates Digital Association for Women a non-for-profit organization endorsed by the ministry of social affairs in the UAE that supports national and international initiatives that aims to empower economic and educational development for diverse communities with specific focus on women and children. This includes, yet not limited to, establishing, and creating ecosystems that support sustainable business development in the UAE and the international scene which supports indigenous growth of local economies. She is as well the strategic director for Women In Artificial Intelligence research international community that aims to improve the scientific and professional positioning of women’s contributions within the field especially in the MENA region. She is the lead of Women In Engineering Chapter in Abu Dhabi and the UAE lead for INWES MENA which is the global network for organizations of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is a currently focusing on building sustainable economic ecosystems and investments for valuable technological and industrial impacts.
    Head, Emerging Technologies Division
    International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
    Preetam Maloor is the Head of the Emerging Technologies Division at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the specialized United Nations Agency for Information and Communication Technologies. With two decades of experience in ICTs, he is an expert on Artificial Intelligence and international cyber-related public policy matters. An ITU Staff member since 2008, he has been a key member of the ITU Secretariat at several major conferences including the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), 2010, 2014 and 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary conferences, the 2009, 2013, and 2022 World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forums (WTPF), and the annual AI for Global Good Summit. He also serves as the Secretary of the ITU Council Working Group on international Internet-related public policy issues and the Expert Group on the International Telecommunication Regulations. Prior to joining ITU, Preetam spent nearly 10 years in the private sector, working primarily at Artificial Intelligence research organizations such as Intelligent Automation Inc, a Rockville, Maryland-based research think-tank focusing on AI-based applications, and at AT&T Research Labs, Florham Park, New Jersey in its Speech & Natural Language Research Group. He holds Master’s degrees in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, College Station, and in Engineering and Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Mumbai.


25 May 2021


CEST, Geneva