By Emma Goldberg
From harassment allegations at Google to revelations of the biases encoded in artificial intelligence algorithms, Silicon Valley’s sexism has been thrust into the public eye. Just last month, MIT Media Lab revealed that Amazon’s AI facial recognition software has trouble identifying female and darker-skinned faces. In October, Reuters revealed how AI recruiting technology tends to favor male candidates, since it is developed and tested using men’s resumes.
This all raises a central question: Where are the women?
Actually, they were initially at the forefront of the industry, back when technologist jobs were considered menial, akin to typists. But as the industry became profitable, male executives developed hiring criteria and workplace cultures that sidelined women. So instead of a space that empowered women, the Internet’s business structures made it a sphere that reinforced masculine biases and patriarchal norms.