Women are a Minority in AI. Vidya Munde-Mueller Shows How ”Women in AI” Community Faces the Challenges

In our previous article within the series of Munich AI Summit 2019, we presented  Felicitas Birkner’s talk on the topic of ‘’How AI is changing our world and how we can shape the change’’. Today’s article is devoted to another important and thought-provoking topic; the role of women in AI which is very often underrated. Women are a minority in AI as only 12% of women work in Machine Learning. Our next speaker Vidya Munde-Mueller who is one of those women involved in AI says this industry is lacking diversity which is essential for unbiased applications and systems. Women in AI (WAI) wants to change that! It is a non-profit working towards gender-inclusive AI that benefits global society. Their mission is to increase female representation and participation in AI. With their community and educational programs, they are already changing the AI landscape in Europe and around the world. 

In her 14+ years of work experience, our speaker Vidya has worked in aerospace, automotive and telecommunication in different capacities as Project Manager, Quality Manager, Managing Consultant and Product Manager. She is the founder of Givetastic.org, a non-profit to improve the ”Charity and Giving” sector using the power of AI. Givetastic offers a social engagement wallet app for businesses and employees to decide how to distribute company resources (time, money, skills and data) for social impact. As a ”Women in AI’ Ambassador, she wants to motivate more women to work in new technologies in order to level the playing field and reduce gender-gap. Vidya carries an MBA and Master’s degrees in Telecommunications along with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

At the beginning of her talk, Vidya speaks about her background telling that she was born in India in a vastly different atmosphere than people are used to seeing for example in Germany. Her family was living in slums, and her mother can’t read and write but in spite of that fact, Vidya’s parents always encouraged her to further her education. She is the first woman in her whole family who studied abroad and graduated from the University of Pune, also known as the Oxford of the East. 

”There is something in me which says that women are underrepresented in so many things. In tech force, like Amazon, Facebook, Google, 20-22% of women are represented in tech jobs, but if we come to AI, it goes down to 8-10 %. I think it’s quite less and it’s a problem. You know why? In anything you build, an application or service which has something to do with data and algorithms, unfortunately, if you don’t have women there in your team, it will be biased. It will be biased because people who are programming the algorithms are mostly men, mostly white’’ says Vidya and insists on the idea that we need women at the table to make so many decisions. ”Women in AI” community is walking exactly towards that goal.

She further goes deep explaining how exactly this community organizes its activities and what steps it takes to ensure more representation of women in this industry. 

This was just a snippet from Vidya’s talk. If you want to learn more about the role and representation of women in AI industry, you can visit our youtube channel where you’ll find the videos of all our speakers’ talks.

We are thankful to all our sponsors (FujitsuWomen in AILiquid NewsroomScylla and UrgestainWayra Germany), participants and the speakers for attending our Munich-AI Summit 2019, the one and only free event in Munich area related to AI.

As we have already informed, we have many big plans related to this initiative. We’re officially launching AI Summit in different countries. In 2020 our destination is Yerevan, the beautiful capital of Armenia. So stay tuned to our blog where we’ll share further details of our upcoming event.

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Develandoo is the leading AI company in Armenia. As an innovation lab, Develandoo has successfully created over 30 products for global enterprises such as KPIT Germany and Welocalize USA.

Develandoo has also incubated three in-house startups which are leading the markets in their areas of expertise:

  1. Scylla – World’s leading gun detection system
  2. Cibola – World’s first in-store analytics system
  3. Protogen – Generic Tabular Data platform

For more information, please visit – https://develandoo.com

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