Can AI Break Gender Bias for an Inclusive Future?

AI is perpetuating the patriarchy

In an era marked by globalization and rapid technological advancements, the relationship between gender dynamics and technology continues to exhibit signs of deep-rooted patriarchy. This issue is particularly significant in the context of the adoption and integration of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) across diverse cultural landscapes.

Factors such as technology access, educational pathways, cultural norms, gender equity initiatives, and techno-activism all play crucial roles in the adoption and utilization of AI. However, generative AI currently tends to predominantly represent males, leading to a skewed perception of professional roles. For instance, when searching for images of professionals in fields like law, medicine, engineering, or scientific research, AI-generated results overwhelmingly depict men.

By addressing these issues comprehensively, we can create a more equitable and just society, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in the technological age. Prioritizing gender equity and justice as primary goals for AI systems can create a downstream impact on design and management decisions, fostering a technological landscape that benefits all

This bias in representation highlights the nuanced intersections between gender identity and the adoption of advanced technologies like GAI, which have profound implications for both present and future generations. Addressing these issues is essential to ensure a more equitable and inclusive technological future.

Significant research findings indicate substantial gender bias in GAI, particularly in professions traditionally dominated by men. For example, studies have shown that men are represented in 76 percent of AI-generated images of professionals, while women appear in only eight percent. This disparity not only highlights but also potentially exacerbates, existing gender inequalities in society. The underrepresentation of women in AI-generated content suggests a reinforcement of gender stereotypes that can influence societal perceptions and career aspirations.

It is crucial that women are included and acknowledged for their presence and contributions to the advancement, design, and implementation of AI technologies. The gendered nature of technology, especially generative AI, becomes apparent when examining recent studies, which show that 99 percent of AI-generated images of professionals depict men. This alarming underrepresentation of women suggests that generative AI could perpetuate gender biases and male dominance in professional fields.

Moreover, certain systems affect the physical and mental well-being of women and non-binary individuals. Gender-biased systems used in healthcare, welfare, and the automotive industry, in particular, pose significant risks. Approximately 18.8 percent of gender-biased systems compromise physical safety, while 3.42 percent create health hazards. These statistics underscore the urgent need to address gender biases within AI to protect the well-being of all users.

The adoption of GAI will likely impact gender perceptions in future generations, who will rely on AI for educational and other purposes. This reliance on AI-generated content may reinforce male dominance and potentially hinder women’s empowerment. Consequently, this issue necessitates a strategic and multifaceted approach to address and mitigate these biases.

Technologists, policymakers, educators, and all stakeholders must collaborate to build a platform for women’s empowerment and ensure that AI technologies reflect diverse and balanced representations. In the realm of socio-economic development, especially within the context of Pakistan, there exists a pressing demand for inclusive growth, with a particular emphasis on the empowerment of women.

Gendered AI could exacerbate gender inequality, making inclusive progress in technology essential for the equitable development of society. Highlighting the need for a more intersectional and inclusive approach in AI advancement, especially in AI-generated images, is imperative.

This approach must consider how gender intersects with other dimensions of power and oppression, such as race, class, and ability. Ensuring that the experiences of marginalized groups, including women of color, transgender individuals, and people with disabilities, are adequately addressed within feminist technoscience studies is vital. An inclusive approach will help achieve the goals of women’s empowerment, societal justice, economic growth, and creating space for everyone.

Empowering and encouraging more women and all genders to take visible roles in all realms of life will be instrumental in driving forward societal and technological progress. This comprehensive strategy involves revising the algorithms and datasets used in AI training and fostering a culture that values and promotes gender diversity in the tech industry.

To address these disparities, we must take a holistic approach that includes enhancing technology access for all genders, promoting inclusive educational pathways, challenging cultural norms that reinforce gender biases, and strengthening gender equity initiatives. It is also essential to support techno-activism efforts that advocate for fair representation in AI. Generative AI has the potential to shape societal perceptions significantly.

Therefore, its development and implementation must prioritize inclusivity. Policymakers, technologists, educators, and activists must collaborate to create frameworks that ensure AI technologies reflect diverse and balanced representations. This involves not only revising the algorithms and datasets used in AI training but also fostering a culture that values and promotes gender diversity in the tech industry.

Moreover, addressing the gender biases inherent in GAI is critical for achieving broader goals of gender equality and empowerment. If left unchecked then these biases can perpetuate and even exacerbate existing inequalities, hindering progress toward a more just and equitable society.

Therefore, it is imperative to incorporate intersectional approaches that consider how gender intersects with other dimensions of power and oppression. By actively working to eliminate gender bias in GAI and other technologies, we can pave the way for a future where technology serves as a tool for empowerment rather than a mechanism of exclusion. This will not only benefit women but also enrich the technological landscape by bringing diverse perspectives and ideas to the forefront.

Ultimately, achieving gender parity in technology, especially in emerging fields like GAI, requires concerted efforts from all sectors of society. By fostering an environment that encourages and supports the participation of all genders, we can ensure that the advancements in AI and other technologies are truly reflective of our diverse world and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future for everyone. This inclusive vision of technological development holds the promise of a future where all individuals, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the digital transformation that is shaping our world.

By addressing these issues comprehensively, we can create a more equitable and just society, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in the technological age. Prioritizing gender equity and justice as primary goals for AI systems can create a downstream impact on design and management decisions, fostering a technological landscape that benefits all.

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Amina A Ghafoor
Amina A Ghafoor
The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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