Women at the Table is a growing global civil society organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Women at theTable is 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.
We expose the systematic exclusion of women in defining the rules, and pinpoint the strategic changes to laws, regulations and norms needed to achieve gender equality and a stronger 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.
What we do
“We shape our tools,
and thereafter our tools shape us"
Why do we do it
Our major problem today is that the tools we are creating are flawed. Their impact is exponential, they are arriving with velocity and scale, and do not reflect the world we live in.
We work at the roots of this problem – acting before the biased impacts of new & emerging technologies are impossible to reverse.
Flawed tools represent particular danger to women, girls and all others who have been historically marginalized and systematically excluded from technology wielding, decision-making, and opportunity taking to create their own unique solutions to the large-scale social problems we now look to technology to solve.
This is particularly urgent given the scale at which Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithmic Decision Making (ADM) systems are being deployed worldwide. Entrenched norms – so deep-rooted that they are unconscious – become intractable as machines learn ingrained patterns from one another, wiring old norms and stereotypes into the machine learning systems of the future.
Machine learning makes the information that is implicit in the data, (including the “missing data” of women, girls, and other historically marginalized groups that render them permanently missing or invisible in the data), explicit in the code. Then machine learning “intelligently mirrors” the information it has been given, or not given, from the analog world and ramps it up with a ferocious velocity and scale.
Gender ‘rules’ slowly being removed from the real world are being hardwired now into new AI + ADM with old and stereotypical associations of gender, race, caste and class. If this continues then old models will harden and evolve into systems even more difficult to unwire than current colonial and patriarchal structures.
However, we have an opportunity, and a small window, to create new norms now.