Back Artificial Intelligence - Bridging the Equality Gap

Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of International Women’s Day.
Artificial Intelligence - Bridging the Equality Gap

“More and more, AI is giving shape to the world we live in - our job prospects, our health-care outcomes, our access to benefits and services. The list of areas affected by AI is long and is growing. Unless we learn how to harness the potential of AI to bridge inequalities - including gender inequality - and prevent discrimination, AI can and will become a force that entrenches, perpetuates and amplifies inequality. A recent Council of Europe study has pointed to shortcomings in existing mechanisms to prevent discrimination from arising in the development of algorithmic systems. It sets out ways to leverage technology to promote equality and the need for human rights impact assessments throughout the AI lifecycle.

“We have launched work to provide essential guidance to governments through a non-binding instrument on the impact of artificial intelligence systems, their potential for promoting equality - including gender equality - and the risks they may cause in relation to discrimination. This work supplements the Council of Europe’s ongoing negotiations towards a global agreement to deploy AI based on human rights, the rule of law and democracy.

“Given the increasing prominence of AI in our lives, we mark International Women’s Day this year with a call to channel the power of AI to identify bias and to address gender inequality. And to ensure more inclusive narrative and imagery. There will be challenges along the way, but the risks at stake mean that we must persevere. A more gender-equal and more diverse workforce is needed to help counteract bias in AI systems. I call for more inclusive digital skills education and training across Europe, ensuring much more diverse participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

“Addressing challenges posed by new technologies, including AI, is one of the priority areas of the new Gender Equality Strategy 2024-2029 adopted just this week by the Council of Europe. The new Strategy re-iterates member states’ high level of commitment to achieving a gender-equal Europe for all. That commitment calls for action. Given the evolution of AI systems, we must step up our efforts to bridge the equality gap”.

  Press release

Artificial Intelligence - Bridging the Equality Gap: Statement by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of International Women’s Day

Strasbourg 07/03/2024
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