Women in AI, a non-profit think-tank, launched its Cape Town chapter in partnership with Stellenbosch University. They aim to create an environment that encourages the development of women in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) industry.
“AI sees no race, no gender, no rural or urban social economics, no rich or poor, degree versus no degree. Opportunity exists whether I’m in Welkom or Stellenbosch, Soweto or Johannesburg, the playing field is levelled with AI. Students without a degree have the same opportunities as those with a degree. What type of thinking and what kind of institutions do we need to create a world where everyone has the chance to enjoy the highest level of human development? While we may not see equality in our lifetime, we will position a generation for opportunity,” said Natalie R, Leader of the education stream of WAI.
Currently, 22% of AI professionals are female, but WAI want to see this improve and to counteract the impact automation may have on jobs that have been mostly occupied by women, such as bookkeeping and administrative roles.
WAI’s various initiatives will include mentor-mentee engagement, events with specialists in this area, an education stream providing young people under the age of 18 with access to AI courses as well as an education stream for women who are already in the workforce to see how WAI can help them to adopt this new technology.
“It is anticipated that $13 trillion in activity will be generated by 2030 and that 30% of the jobs in their current form will be impacted [by AI]. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to join Women in AI, and join the search for AI communities, because it’s all about how we, as humans, will transform and adopt the fourth industrial revolution,” said WAI Ambassador for South Africa, Lisel Engelbrecht.
She also explained how WAI plans to expand into Africa, specifically targeting Nigeria and Ethiopia.
“Ultimately, we want to build a community that’s passionate about gender inclusiveness for women of all ages and from all walks of life and to help the rest of the world adopt this,” she said.