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Women cannot find a place for themselves in technology companies



The world is witnessing a period in which the frequency of use of artificial intelligence tools has increased significantly compared to previous years. People are increasingly benefiting from the benefits offered by artificial intelligence technologies. Considering the reach of technology, its impact on gender roles also arouses curiosity. According to research conducted by UNESCO and the EQUALS Skills Commission in 2022, men constitute an overwhelming majority in teams that are the pioneers of technology. With the impact of gender disproportion in the digital sector, technological products have consequences that will feed the inequality between men and women.

The effects of digital developments on gender were discussed in the new episode of the “We Turn Up the Voice” program series, hosted by the In-an Movement, which carries out studies on equality, diversity and inclusion to strengthen the presence of women in the business world, on Harvard Business Review’s social media channel. In the new episode of the program, hosted by Twiser CGO (Chief Growth Officer) and Founder of İn-an Movement, Bahar Taşkın Öztürk, she was selected as one of the 10 Women Leaders in Technology, was the UNESCO Gender Equality department director, and recently worked with No Bias AI, which she founded. Saniye Gülser Çorat was hosted as a guest.

“Digital assistants increase gender inequality”

In the program, Saniye Gülser Çorat included the details of the research “I would blush if I could”, which made a big impact in the international media, and stated that they took action because they found it very dangerous to receive the answer “I would blush if I could” when a sexual insult was made to Siri, and said: “All digital assistants are voiced by female voices. When talking to Siri, you have to speak in a certain tone of voice. When men, especially boys, talk to digital assistants, they communicate by giving orders and even using derogatory language. Digital assistants also give obedient answers when responding. As a result, men who constantly establish relationships with digital assistants expect the same behavior from the women around them. They include commanding statements such as talking to their boys, mothers, sisters and caregivers with digital assistants. They expect them to give underwhelming answers. “All these behavioral patterns cause gender equality efforts that have been carried out for years to go backwards,” he said.

Stating that the male voice option was added to all digital assistants except Alexa as a result of their research making a big impact in the world, Saniye Gülser Çorat added that although the responses of digital assistants to insults are differentiated, there is still no voice assistant that can give answers that will strengthen gender equality.

“Women being a minority increases inequality”

Although technological companies employ female employees, women do not take part in technology development areas.  Twiser CGO (Chief Growth Officer) and Founder of İn-an Movement, Bahar Taşkın Öztürk, stated that the lack of women in the fields that develop digital assistants negatively affects the structure of these tools and said, “We welcome the development of technology and accept it as a level of development. “On the other hand, we see that gender inequality is increasing as a result of women being a minority in the technology sector and not being able to find a place for themselves,” he said.