Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that works with machine learning and performs tasks that emulate human intelligence. However, with the increase of technological advancements, there has also been an increasing gender gap in the field.
Women are currently underrepresented in most majors, but it can be especially seen in the STEM field, specifically artificial intelligence. They currently represent 22% of all artificial intelligence professionals. There has been an extreme gender bias within the machine learning field, which can be seen through AI-powered recruits that disproportionately advantage male candidates. While many state that women choose to not work in such demanding fields, there have been explanations that the most significant cause is due to gender discrimination and stereotypes created by societal norms, leading to fewer opportunities.
Recent studies at Harvard University have demonstrated that artificial intelligence has picked up gender biases as well because it is mostly engineered by males. In order to overcome this bias in machine learning, training needs to be diversified; as artificial intelligence continues to grow, gender diversity needs to follow along as well. It is of utmost importance that artificial intelligence companies hire more women into these jobs in order to reach equal perspectives between genders.
According to a study conducted by Cornell University, 26% of high school senior males planned to enter STEM related majors, compared to the 13% of females. Among college students who graduated with degrees, 42.5% of females have successfully graduated compared with 52.8% of men who completed with degrees. From the statistics shown, high school classes play a major role in the career pathway that a student takes. These gender disparities continue to display after college, eventually creating the gender gap in work fields.
In order to bridge the gender gap between males and females, these efforts need to be apparent early on in children’s education careers. Being surrounded by a STEM environment and having persistent cultural messages about the gender divide are just some of the few steps to reduce the differing gender percentages. If the society can continually implement efforts on working past the gender divide, it can slowly be bridged over the years. While it is apparent that the gender gap will not close quickly, any effort contributes to a positive change into bridging the divide.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of STEM education within low income communities. Attempting to bring in STEM related classes is especially difficult when there is a lack of funding. In today’s society, there are not enough resources for students from low economic communities, preventing such students from obtaining a valuable education. Many of the education that students receive is a bare bones education where they only learn the basics of math and English with other subjects sprinkled in. However, when going out into the real world, math and english would not cut it. Students need access to a strong and broad academic experience, not just the required basic subjects, that gives them a wide scope of knowledge of all the varying fields that are in society, such as computer science and biomedical science.
Bias is inevitably unavoidable; however, the efforts worked together by society can contribute to bridging the gender gap. Education plays a large factor in the gender divide, and our attempts to teach STEM from an early age is crucial in order for women to be a part of technological advancements.