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Beijing +25 Intervention @Human Rights Council

High-level panel discussion commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women Accelerating the commitments of the Beijing Declaration and Platform

Women at the Table - Oral Intervention - 25 February 2020

Predictive analytics, algorithms and other forms of Artificial Intelligence hold great promise but are highly likely to reproduce and deepen traditional gender and racial biases reflected in our existing data; data which is incomplete because it does not generally count women. This invisibility then becomes intractable as machines learn from each other.

We are at a critical turning point. The future is being built on technology created under a “standardized male” default which threatens gender equality. Biased algorithms: hinder possibilities to be hired (automatically excluding women’s CVs for jobs traditionally held by men), impede access to certain products and services (by invisibilizing certain ads and offers to women), and threaten liberties (automated facial recognition systems routinely misidentify non-white people and women).

A deeply rooted cause of this is the systemic exclusion of intersectional varieties of women. This exclusion of women, who serve here as a proxy for all groups marginalized or traditionally left behind, is not new. Therefore,

An urgent and profound shift is needed. We recommend member states:

  • Embrace an approach to AI, and machine learning grounded in human rights.
  • Adopt binding guidelines that firmly establish accountability and transparency for AI.
  • Take definitive steps to include intersectional varieties and equal numbers of women and girls in the creation, design and coding of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Ensure international cooperation corrects for the mass scale of skewed data.

Finally, if we want individuals to trust and respect the credibility of our institutions, our institutions must show leadership. I once again draw your attention to the Gender Responsive Assemblies Toolkit and our recent report on the election of members to treaty bodies - both which serve as best practice guides for gender parity within the UN.

Women must have a seat at the decision making table as we invent the future.

How do we leverage this critical year so that we finally create data that reflects half of the world’s population - women ? If we accomplish this, we may be on the road to a resolution where we leave no one behind and achieve the aspirations of the Beijing Declaration.

* A shortened version of this statement (due to time restrictions) was delivered at HRC43 by Ms Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, CEO / Founder Women at the Table.

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