Two weeks after the press release, I’d Blush If I Could has attracted media attention all around the world.
From 17 to 24 May, the publication was mentioned in nearly 400 articles in all regions of the globe, including some of the most notable Media websites, such as The New York Times (USA), The Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France), El Pais (Spain).
Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, was interviewed by several journalists (CBC Radio, BBC Radio 5, BBC TV, AFP, TIME MAGAZINE, and CBS to name a few) about the report on how digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are helping entrench harmful gender biases.
The new publication advises companies and governments to:
- end the practice of making digital assistants female by default;
- explore the feasibility of developing a neutral ‘machine gender’ for voice assistants that is neither male nor female;
- programme digital assistants to discourage gender-based insults and abusive language;
- encourage interoperability so that users can change digital assistants, as desired;
- require that operators of AI-powered voice assistants announce the technology as non-human at the outset of interactions with human users; and, most vitally.
- develop the advanced technical skills of women and girls so they can steer the creation of new technologies alongside men.
Today 12% of AI researchers are women. Women represent only 6% of software developers and are 13 times less likely to file ICT (information and communication technology) patents than men. Bridging these gender gaps requires gender-responsive digital skills education. The publication features numerous recommendations on how to make technology studies more inclusive of women and girls and describes examples of good practice from around the world.
The new publication was produced through a collaboration between UNESCO and EQUALS, a global partnership of governments and organizations dedicated to promoting gender balance in the technology sector by championing equality of access, skills and leadership for women and men alike. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supported the publication financially and provided substantive input on the content.