Women at the Table

Who Gets To Speak – Who Gets Heard

LISBON, Portugal.

Thoughtworks (NASDAQ: TWKS), a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, has announced at Web Summit 2022 that it partnered with Women at The Table to use machine learning and data analytics to break down the barriers to influence and engagement at multi-national conferences. 

The Gender Gap application (G-app), built by Thoughtworks, supports Women at The Table’s goal to improve the representation, participation and influence of women and underrepresented groups. The G-app monitors and reports on the active and full participation and influence of women at important world events in social, political and economic spheres, in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Women at The Table beta tested the open source, Google Cloud based G-app at several Inter-Parliamentary Union Assemblies and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development; piloting it at the Paris Peace Forum. Initial indicators showed that while representation may be moving closer to parity (40% female-60% male), speaking time reflects a serious imbalance (20% female-80% male) at critical decision-making tables. 

“Women at The Table is proud to be the first organization to focus on systems change by helping women and underrepresented groups gain influence in sectors that have key structural impact. We do this by using data that reflects the world we live in, creating inclusive algorithms and conceiving tools to shape a better future,” said Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, chief executive officer and founder, Women@TheTable. “With its 25+ years of technology excellence, our pro bono partner Thoughtworks architected and built the Gender Gap app to help us achieve our goals as well as informing a more equitable future.” 

The G-app works by taking speaker demographics and session recordings and analyzes who speaks on which topics, with how much time and with how much influence. It uses an explainable AI algorithm to draw out insights on who is speaking on the topics and pulls all the insights together to produce simple, yet powerful visualizations. These visualizations display the event’s diversity measuring representation (how many attendees, from which regions, gender, age, institution), participation (speaking time in sessions) and influence (which level of authority, for example, using the head of delegation role as a proxy for powerful influence). 

“Women at the Table is dedicated to increasing the plurality of voices at international conferences, one lever to influence more equitable decision-making on the world stage,” said Dr. Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at Thoughtworks. “Bringing together our passion for inclusion and our skills leveraging tech for social change was an exciting opportunity for us. We’ve seen how bias can emerge in AI and here we use AI to uncover bias. The G-app does this by measuring and communicating the gap between surface level diversity (attendance) and real diversity (share of voice) at events where decisions are made that affect all of humanity. We applied a responsible tech lens and made sure that the algorithm is explainable, to ensure transparency and inclusion from all angles.” 

Dr. Rebecca Parsons and Caitlin Kraft-Buchman are participating in a fireside chat on “Responsible Tech: A rising and collective responsibility” at the closing of Corporate Innovation Summit (invitation only) which kicks off Web Summit 2022. 

Watch the story of Women at The Table and the G-app below and read the case study here.

About Women at The Table

Women at The Table are the first organization to focus on systems change by helping feminists gain influence in sectors that have key structural impact: economy, democracy and governance, technology and sustainability. The organization exposes the systematic exclusion of women in defining the rules – and pinpoints strategic changes to laws, regulations and norms to achieve gender equality and strengthen democracy. By connecting the right people, at the right place at the right time, women are influentially involved in all levels of decision-making, so change can happen now. Women@TheTable is a growing global civil society organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

About Thoughtworks

Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. We are 12,000+ people strong across 50 offices in 18 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.

Last modified: January 14, 2023