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Designation of Ms Saniye Gülser Corat as top 3rd leading women in the Tech Industry


UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, has been named top 3rd leading women in the Technology Industry.

For the past years, UNESCO has become an influential actor in international efforts towards the ethical development of frontier technologies with a specific focus on the integration of gender equality considerations. Under Ms Corat’s leadership, UNESCO has exposed the gender bias embedded in and spread by these new technologies, such as those displayed by virtual assistants namely thought the publication of I’d Blush If I Could in 2019. Only two weeks after its press release, the publication had already been mentioned in nearly 400 articles all around the world, including some of the most notable Media websites, such as The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France), and El Pais (Spain).

Journalists from CBC Radio, BBC Radio 5, BBC TV, AFP, Time magazine, CBS, El Pais, Lusa, ZAP.aeiou, MessMag, and Citywire interviewed Ms Corat about the report on how digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are helping entrench harmful gender biases. She also presented the information to ministry officials and leading tech sector representatives from around the world, for example at the International Conference on AI and Education (Beijing, 16-18 May 2019) and the Web Summit (4-7 November 2019), considered as the largest tech event in the world, which gathered over 70,000 participants in 2019, including change-makers in business, politics and innovation from 163 countries (46,3% women).

Ms Corat participated in Amplified, a Hermes podcast channel (16 January 2020), and several workshops related to gender equality and new technologies, such as TechDetector Launch (22 October 2019), EOS Hermes Federated (2 webinars on 6 and 17 April 2020, which attracted 109 representatives of key companies from around the world), e-Bynd Portfolio Week on 12 May 2020.

Building on this momentum, UNESCO was planning to leverage its convening power by organizing a global conference called “Gender Equality and the Ethics of AI: What solutions from the private sector?” This conference was due to gather world experts on AI and gender equality from the private and public sectors, academia and civil society on 7 March 2020, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this event was physically not able to take place.

From April to July 2020, Ms Corat led a dialogue with a group of experts from leading technology companies and the academia to reflect on how the private sector can integrate gender equality considerations into their operations and products. As developers, users and managers of AI systems, businesses play a central role in leading the change. They must ensure women and representatives from diverse groups are involved in all phases of AI development, including in decision-making. The main findings of this Dialogue, as well as additional research and analysis, are shared in a report published in August 2020.

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