Award-winning economist has tapped AI to close the gender equity gap

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The gender equity gap in the tech sector is well-documented. Research has found that women occupy only 22% of all tech roles across European companies, while the proportion of funding raised by female-only teams has dropped from 3% to 1% since 2018.

The issue is prevalent at every level of the industry. A 2022 poll by Web Summit showed that 67% of women in technology feel unfairly paid compared to their male peers.

Despite this pessimistic picture, technology can also provide a means to close the gender equity gap.

That’s the mission of acclaimed gender economist and former Global 500 global executive, Katica Roy, who will be speaking at TNW València on March 31.

For Roy, the work has personal roots. When she returned to work after her maternity leave, she experienced pay inequity herself. She decided to devise her own solution. In 2017, she founded Pipeline Equity, an SaaS company aiming to improve intersectional gender equity in the workplace.

Pipeline Equity’s award-winning HR analytics platform uses AI and cloud computing to help companies operationalise their DEI commitments into daily actions, and improve inclusion and equality by 70% in three months.

“Interestingly enough, what we found in the market is that 96% of CEOs put equity in their top priorities, but only 22% of employees regularly see it shared and measured,” Roy tells TNW. “So you have this 74% gap between employer branding and the actual employee experience. That’s what we aim to close.”

Equally interesting is that the original research behind Pipeline Equity found that, across 4,000 companies in 29 countries, for every 10% increase in intersectional gender equity, there’s a 1% to 2% increase in revenue. “Equity isn’t simply the right thing to do, but also a massive economic opportunity,” Roy says. To be precise, that economic opportunity could add $12 trillion to global GDP.

In fact, equity’s economic return during a downturn is higher than in regular times, she explains. This means companies that put equity at the core of their crisis management during uncertain times can see twice the returns.

But despite the social and economic advantages of gender equity, Roy believes that there are two things companies are getting wrong: focusing on programmatic rather than systemic change, and focusing on ‘fixing’ women instead of fixing the system.

She argues that it’s “critically important” for us and our global economy to hardwire equity by phasing out our biases using AI.

“With a system that’s equitable by design, we have the opportunity to really facilitate equity within our lifetime. The question isn’t whether we can reach equity using technology. It’s whether we will choose to. Because it is within our realm to make this reality.”

Katica Roy will be speaking at TNW València, which takes place at the end of March. If you want to experience the event, we’ve got something special for our loyal readers. Use the promo code TNWVAL30 and get a 30% discount on your conference business pass for TNW València.