MindBridge, uOttawa, Willis College team up to close gender gap in AI, cybersecurity

gender ai

Three Ottawa-based organizations are collaborating on a new learning platform to improve gender equity in the artificial intelligence and cybersecurity industries.

The University of Ottawa and Willis College are teaming up with software developer MindBridge Ai to increase the representation of womxn – an alternative term meant to explicitly include transgender women, women of colour and non-binary individuals – in tech. Roughly a quarter of tech jobs in Canada are held by womxn, according to 2018 stats from the Information and Communications Technology Council.

The three local organizations announced plans Tuesday to create a “learning platform” that will seek to develop female leaders and increase representation in these fields.

MindBridge first announced its intention to close the tech gender gap earlier this year at its Impact AI conference. CEO Eli Fathi said that the algorithms underpinning artificial intelligence are more robust when developed by a more diverse workforce, creating an ethical and economic imperative to improve representation in STEM.

“The algorithms are much more balanced when you have women part of the team developing them,” Fathi told Techopia Live.

“There is a real urgency in our need to be more innovative and targeted. We can’t afford to have another generation of womxn excluded from an entire industry just because there is a perception that Cyber and AI are only open to men. Now is the time to engage womxn,” said Willis College president and CEO Rima Aristocrat in a statement Tuesday.