Merilee Kern shares extracts from a Q&A on how tech is levelling the workplace playing field

It is essential to approach artificial intelligence with a critical eye, and recognise its potential to both challenge and reinforce societal biases.

“As we integrate AI into the workplace, continuous efforts must be made to make sure these technologies are designed and implemented in a way that promotes equity. This includes diverse teams in AI development, transparent AI models and ongoing assessments of AI’s impact on workplace equality,” says the highly credentialed data scientist Angel Vossough, who is the Co-Founder and CEO BetterAI.

Vossough believes that through the thoughtful application of artificial intelligence, we have a unique opportunity to shape a more inclusive future for all. Here are her perspectives on the career opportunities and obstacles related to this emerging technology along with insights for female data scientists.

Q: In your opinion, how can AI play a role in advancing gender equality in the workplace?

A: Artificial intelligence has the potential to significantly advance gender equality in the workplace by offering unbiased data analysis and decision-making processes.

For platforms such as DiverseUp, AI can analyse vast amounts of data regarding corporate policies, culture and practices, to identify biases and recommend improvements.

More than 50 percent of women in tech leave their positions mid-career, making the retention of female talent one of the major challenges for tech companies. AI can assist in developing more equitable hiring practices, identifying gender pay gaps and suggesting corrective actions.

It can also help create personalised career development plans for women after considering their unique circumstances and prefe­rences, and promote a more inclusive workplace environment with better retention.

Q: And how can women use AI to make wise career selections?

A: Women can leverage artificial intelligence in their career search by using AI powered job recommendation engines that align with their goals, personal values and need for a work-life balance. It can analyse their profiles, skills and preferences against job listings to recommend the best fits.

Additionally, artificial intelligence can provide insights into company cultures and practices, and help women choose employers based on their personal preferences – such as flexible working hours, maternity leave and career development programmes.

Q: How can women leverage AI for personal-career development and growth?

A: AI can offer personalised learning and development recommendations, identify skill gaps and help with upskilling or reskilling in a chosen field. It can also suggest courses, workshops or assignments to bridge these gaps.

And it can help connect women with mentors, peers and professional communities that can support their career advancement by using relevant algorithms.

Q: In what way can organisations use artificial intelligence to ensure equitable recruiting practices?

A: AI driven analytics can identify patterns in hiring and turnover, predict shortcomings in recruitment processes and enable organisations to make data driven adjustments. AI can design job descriptions that are neutral and appealing to all genders, analyse resume data without bias and standardise interviews.

However, the retention of female employees in tech companies is as important as recruitment. For example, women display a pattern called ‘returnship’ where they leave their careers to focus on family life and return to the workforce a few years later.

These qualified candidates are often overlooked by recruiters because of this gap in work history. By training AI on this known pattern, it can identify and target these potential employees for recruitment and retraining.

Q: What do the next five years hold in terms of the growing impact of AI and other technologies on women in the workplace?

A: In the next five years, the impact of AI and technology on women in the workplace is likely to increase significantly. We can expect more sophisticated AI tools for career development, networking and mentorship, specifically designed with women’s needs in mind.

Artificial intelligence will also play an important role in eliminating biases from recruiting processes, which can help more women enter tech roles. Furthermore, as remote and flexible work becomes more prevalent, AI can assist women in balancing their professional and personal lives more effectively.

Q: What was your main challenge in becoming a female data leader?

A: One of the most significant challenges that women face in navigating the tech industry deals with leadership roles. This highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion, and the need to mitigate high turnover rates of women in the tech space.

The role of women in data is not simply about filling seats but about bringing diverse perspectives that can lead to innovative solutions and approaches.

As the data science field continues to evolve, it’s imperative that the industry creates an environment that supports the growth and retention of women. And this includes addressing gender specific challenges, providing mentorship and making sure there are equal opportunities for advancement.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve given other women aspiring for leadership roles in data?

A: Pursue your curiosity and dive deep into using the tools available today, and imagine how they can and should be better.

Seek mentors and networks that support your growth, and don’t shy away from taking on challenging projects that stretch your capabilities.