sábado, 23 de junio de 2018

Gender Gap in the ICT sector

The very same women's day, the European Commission published a report on the gender gap in the ICT sector. The report shows the many faces of the unbalance between women and men around the digital economy development. To begin with, the report shows that the gender gap starts in the education on ICT ( four times more men with ICT-related studies than women in Europe), continue at the first step of entering on the digital jobs (women represent only 21.5% of all workers in digital jobs) and is maintained on the senior management positions (only  19% of the senior manangement post globally is held by women). 

A further report published on the gender representation in the audiovisual sector presents also evidences of the gender gap, as a  general underepresentation of women in creative off-screen roles and the existence of a glass-ceiling that prevents women from climbing the professional ladder. Therefore, it could be suspected that the situation is similar in all the different kind of jobs related with the digital economy.

Although the reports don´t provide evidences os the consequence of the underepresentation of women on the ICT sector, these are easly to find. For instance, the few women involved on the design on AI algorithms has as consequence that machines are learning a biased view of women and its role in society. Lack of diversity on ICT job post may have as a consequence a future where the current gains on the fight against gender discrimination get lost. 

On the occasion of a recent event, CEOs of tech companies sign a manifesto that includes concrete steps for reducing the ICT sector gender gap. Among the actions that aimed to establish a level-playing field between women and men on the digital economy development working place, the CEOs propose promoting an open and female-friendly company culture, embedding diversity as a core value of human resources policy and other positive discrimination policies that could pave the way to leadership posts for women. 

There´s no doubt that introducing measures in the working place facilitate the fight against gender gap in the sector, however, is not enough. As it was said before, the gap starts at the education level so the adoption of technology studies by girls should be promoted heavily since for the different range ages, particularly those which are critical in the election of the future professional career (12-14 years).

Finally, it also should be adopted some kind of naming and shaming measure among government. The establishment and dissemination of rankings and benchmarks is always a great pressure for the development of a policy. 

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2018

"The Power" - Naomi Alderman

The PowerThe Power by Naomi Alderman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nowadays, almost everyone knows something about "The Handmaid's Tale", that dystopian vision of a future where patriarchalism reigns and the discrimination of women has reached the summit. However, the book has passed unnoticed for years and some people gets shocked when they discovered that it was written in 1985. I remember that I read that book around 2002 and since then I have strongly recommended Margaret Atwood´s novel many times. Those who followed the advice didn´t get dissapointed.

Among many others attractiveness, the appeal of "The Handmaid´s Tale" is that it provides a framework to meditate about the unfairness of a society based on a extrem unfairness in the gender relationships. It´s a mirror to feel ashamed of our image which its deficiencies has been distorted to its maximum. You should expect the same impact when you read "The Power".

"The Power" invites you to travel through the other side of the mirror and feels the horror of the side you daily live. The novel shows a word where women gets concious of an inmense physical power that allow them to dominate men. Little by little, women begin to dominate every parcel of life in different countries and in front of our eyes appears the reverse of the more extreme forms of female discrimination applied to men. For instance, a kind of male genital mutilation called "the curving procedure".

Although the plot of "The power" could have been better developed, the progress of the story is sometime slow. However, it achieves its objetcive of making you feel the rejection and disgust against both the current patriachal society and any kind of radicalism. The novel also shows how the desire of revenge may pervert any fair cause and the dificulty of avoid being a dictator if you are powerful enough, even if you have suffered before oppression. Therefore, it is not only a novel that calls your attention about the unfairness of any kind of injustice but also about the weaknesses of human nature.

I do not have any doubt to recommend the book. However, do not expect a masterpiece as "The Handmaid´s Tale"

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viernes, 1 de junio de 2018

#Datacalypsis : the end of a decade

2007. Everything around your personal data is under control as it is for the rest of the Europeans. For more than a decade has been in place a Directive that protects your privacy and your personal data. A few months ago you has started to use from time to time a new kind  of services provided by some small innovative companies, Google and its new email service, a platforms for sharing videos called YouTube and a web that you are not sure what is its purpose yet called Facebook. Not too much people use this incredible services yet and you pass the voice to everyone about them.

2018. News rules for the protection of your data has entered into force. You hope this would allow you to take again control of your personal data. You feel that those big platforms you use everyday has gone too far in taking advantage from the data they collect about you. But you can not stop using it without taking a big change in your life  that you are not willing to take.

More that a decade separate the two scenarios above. Everybody now knows that last week the privacy rules has changed because their e-mail boxes has been completely flooded with notices of the change from the hundred of online services yoy have used at least once. It has been a bad start for the new data protection regulation. On one hand, people do not like to be bothered with the changes in laws. On the other hand, they have started to notice that few things have changed. The notifications are still linked to long therms of service as obscure as before and even some of them try to take advantage of the notification to obtain more data.

Nevertheless, the theory is that everything has changed and that companies are now more accountable for what they do with your personal data. According to the new rules anyone can request detailed information about the handling of their data from the companies. Online companies are scared about the seismic it could caused thousand and millions of users withholding consent for certain uses of data, requesting access to their personal information from data brokers, or deleting their information from sites altogether. But the reality has been different and only the usual mavericks has filed complaints to the usual suspects.

However, the fear is running free among companies. The first day the new data protection rules entered into force some services started to be unavailable for Europeans. The many times announced balkanisation of the Internet looks to has started. Furthermore, there is a panic of which is going to be the effect on European AI development and the offer of AI services for Europeans. Therefore, a decade after the begin of the digital revolution an scenario of disminution of the offer of digital services instead of a landscape of expanding availability of them is opening.

And we have seen nothing yet. In the middle of the frenzy few people is noticing that another big change regarding privacy and personal data is on the brink of happening. On March 2019, Brexit will be a reality and a new group of those services we used daily will be provided from a country with a different data protection legal framework. The European Commission has already published a notice to stakeholders about the preparations that needed to be done.

The explotation of personal data has been the lever of digital revolution. Therefore, a decade since the introdution of the services provided by the SIlicon Valley companies, the changes on the rules of privacy and data protection introduced by GDPR is opening a new scenario of unpredictable changes, both for EU and worldwide. As our lives are  pending on those services, it is for sure that things will not be the same after May 25th.
palyginti kainas