The Short Cut: A look at Women's Month, gender bias in AI, women-only ride hailing and more
Andrea Lorenzo Sacchetta·Mar 24, 2023

The Short Cut: A look at Women's Month, gender bias in AI, women-only ride hailing and more

Andrea Lorenzo Sacchetta
Staff Writer
Mar 24, 2023 · 4 min read
A Look Back at Women's Month in Tech | TomTom Newsroom

Welcome to the Women’s Month edition of The Short Cut! In this special episode we share the latest trends, achievements and challenges faced by women in the tech and mobility tech industries. Get ready to dive into stories about how Femtech is revolutionizing women’s health, AI and gender bias and the rise of women-only mobility services. Let’s get to it!

TomTom launches DEI Advisory Council

On this year International Women’s Day TomTom leaders and employees gathered to reflect on TomTom’s current status of women’s representation, the actions the company is taking to improve it and its targets for the future. 

A picture from TomTom's even on Women's Day, March 2023From left to right, TomTom's Co-founder and CMO, Corinne Vigreux; TomTom VP HR, Bart Bolger and Head of Social Impact, Mariya Findzhikova at TomTom's Women's Day event

This internal event took a deep dive into TomTom’s current efforts to attract women in tech and support their growth and development. Key topics that were discussed were the importance of allyship to drive representation, as well as the increased focus on ensuring representation of women in senior management positions. 

TomTom’s DEI Advisory Council was announced during the event. It will advise on, provide oversight, advocate for and raise the visibility of diversity, equity and inclusion work globally at TomTom.

Femtech is revolutionizing women's health

The Femtech industry, which targets women's health, is projected to be valued at $1.186 trillion by 2027, according to figures from FemTech Focus cited by CNCB

As the number of women involved in the tech industry grows, there is a corresponding increase in the emergence of women's perspectives aimed at addressing their unique health problems and concerns.  

Ida Tin, a pioneer in the industry and the creator of the term Femtech, holds that there are significant gaps in the market for technology specifically developed for women's health and that “These are all problems we can use more advanced technology to solve.”  Other perspectives highlight the importance of making sure these emerging technological options are accessible to everyone, including those women in marginalized communities who lack digital literacy or sufficient income to even access new forms of medical care. 

One woman's safety is another woman's safety

Women-only ride-share services are growing worldwide. Safety concerns for women using traditional ride-sharing services have led to the creation and expansion of women-exclusive travel initiatives, which aim to offer a safer and more convenient alternative to traditional transit options.  

One example is Wilma, a women-driving-women app, launched in London, Ont. in 2022, which is expanding its services to Toronto, Canada. Further east, similar initiatives have emerged, such as Careem in Pakistan, an already existing ride-hailing service that is now planning to target women riders, and drivers, by offering both a safer way to travel and an opportunity to access flexible income.   

Additionally, public initiatives are gaining popularity in Ranchi, India where the “pink auto” and “pink buses,” both women-only public transport alternatives, are becoming women’s preferred choice when it comes to “feeling safer” while traveling.

Tech leaders are questioning gender bias in AI

The increasing popularity of AI is raising questions on whether these algorithms are perpetuating gender bias. Industry leaders have shared their thoughts in a recent article by the WallStreetJournal.  

Overall, there is a growing need to tackle gender bias in AI. However, many organizations are addressing it retroactively. Leaders from Visa Inc. and LexisNexis Risk Solutions assert that, given the complexity of algorithms, attempting to address bias after deployment rather than at the outset of algorithm development will be harder, more expensive and less efficient than doing it upfront.  

Pepsi Inc. and KPMG LLP heads suggest that the development of standardized frameworks and tools for assessing bias in algorithms could address the issue. Will this be enough to ensure equal representation in AI?  Let’s see how this unfolds over time... 

AI, image recognition, genderArtificial intelligence systems have been coming underfire for gender bias for a while. It seems if we're going to overcome these biases, we need a proactive approach.

Microsoft's new partnership is empowering women in the garment industry

Microsoft is partnering with Shimmy Technologies, an ed-tech company founded in 2016, to provide digital skills training to women in the garment industry.   

Women working in the textile industry are at a higher risk of being replaced by automation, primarily because they are often restricted to entry-level roles that are prone to automation. 

Shimmy Technologies has focused on empowering workers to acquire the digital literacy skills necessary to work with new automated machines. By partnering with Microsoft, the program's potential for scaling up expands significantly. The organization aims to train 9,000 workers in 2023.   

That's all for this week, and this special edition of The Short Cut. Check back soon for more of our favorite updates on mobility, location data and hopefully, more news about women succeeding in tech.  

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