FemTech 2.0: how the feminization of technology is happening and what is the face of IT today

A little less than 200 years have passed since the appearance on the scientific arena of "Lady Programming" - Ada Lovelace,

an English woman mathematician, who has become the standard for all subsequent generations of women who want to connect their lives with science and technology.

And it seems that a revolution in consciousness should haveturn something over. The first programmer in history was a woman, and even in the middle of the 19th century. It was Ada Lovelace who coined the terms "cycle" and "work cell". The daughter of the poet Byron, Ada plunged into a sphere completely unexpected for women of that era - mathematics. And she achieved the successes that immortalized her in the history of computing - she wrote the first program in history - describing the algorithm for calculating Bernoulli numbers on Babbage's analytical machine. Ada Lovelace also became a prophet: she was sure that in the future the analytical machine would be able not only to create algebraic formulas, but also to write music or pictures, and also point out absolutely fantastic paths to science. There is little doubt that Ada Lovelace was right about everything.

Ada Lovelace

But in the 21st century, the presence of women in IT and relatedWith technology, industries are still somewhat surprised that this is a traditionally male sphere (although it appeared thanks to Ada Lovelace) and "a woman cannot cope with these difficulties." Here you can endlessly list those stereotypes that still fetter modern society, including preventing women from moving up the career ladder: gender bias in top management, the number of female applicants in technical universities, low salaries, contracts with prescribed guarantees due to possible pregnancy and so on.

On the other hand, it is the Internet and digitalizationgave women unexpected opportunities and freedom in choosing their careers, even in traditionally patriarchal and orthodox societies. We have already published an interview with a student from Pakistan, Hamna Aslam, who is developing AI systems in Russia.

It should be especially noted here that feminism asthe phenomenon also received its digital component - cyberfeminism has become a real trend in the context of the feminist community, combining everything related to the study of cyberspace, the Internet and IT. Today, this is a broader movement - network feminism, but its essence is the same - the digital space is free of social constructs that provide for gender differences, and IT can be used as tools to eliminate the concept of gender in general.

Today it's impossible to imagine the plotfilm "Hidden Figures" in large companies or scientific centers. Women represent technology, start-ups and businesses, do major research and win international competitions. Traditionally, the “male face” of IT has finally become gender-neutral, focusing society's attention primarily on the skills of a specialist, and not on his gender, skin color or sexual orientation.

We decided to see how women todaywork in new media, what exactly is happening under their auspices in technology and science, and how difficult it is still to be a woman among male specialists.

Aya Shalkar, AR technologies against gender-based violence

Kazakh artist Aya Shalkar usedAR technology is just about breaking gender boundaries. She devoted her art project AIEL, which appeared online in the summer of 2020, to the problems of sexism, discrimination and domestic violence against women in Kazakhstan. Suddenly, the decision with AR in symbiosis with Instagram aroused great interest: today Aya has more than 700 thousand subscribers on the social network and she continues to create her video art. Today there are no more than 10 of them, but with such a conversion, it is expected that each next statement will cause an influx of new followers.

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Publication from Aya Shalkar (@aya_shalkar)

In one of her art videos, Aya usesthe traditional image of a warrior woman Altyn Adam as a way to demonstrate "the place of women in modern Kazakhstan." Today women hold only 22% of all seats in the parliament of this party. For the first time in the history of the country, a woman took the post of akim of the region only in 2020. According to polls, most of the people of Kazakhstan believe that women should not participate in economic and political discussions.

In addition, Aya talks about a rather painful point in patriarchal societies: domestic violence.

“Every year in Kazakhstan, an average of 400women as a result of domestic violence. In 2017, domestic violence in Kazakhstan was transferred to the section of administrative violations, and only a small part of them reaches the police. This must come to an end, ”the artist writes on her Instagram.

View this Instagram post

Publication from Aya Shalkar (@aya_shalkar)

Aya claims that the modern woman is a slave in her family.

“Traditions forbid her to contradict this way of life. It's time to reconsider what we consider normal, ”the artist writes.

View this Instagram post

Publication from Aya Shalkar (@aya_shalkar)

These video performances became the final workartist at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and immediately such a success. First of all, this speaks of the demand for such a presentation of important public discourses and the need for tight integration of IT technologies into art. VFX-studio Buralqy participated in the development of the art project.

There are many qualities that should be possessed“Ideal” Kazakh woman in the eyes of traditional society. The most favorite image is a soft, docile and modest girl without character and ambition. We are more than this framework.

Aya Shalkar, AR artist

Quay Vo-Rainard, HIT Foundation, blockchain as a way to earn money for medical services

Blockchain is called overrated by manytechnology and even the next "bubble", which will cease to be relevant immediately after the creation of normally working quantum computers. But for now, judging by the technology news, we still have time to get some benefit from the blockchain. Dr. Quay Vo-Raynard is called "the world's most powerful woman in the blockchain", and for good reason. Vo-Raynard has gone from being a Doctor of Computational Biomedicine to managing the entire HIT Foundation. At various times, she worked as both vice dean and business manager for an enzyme startup. But her main passion, according to Wo-Rainard herself, is to create non-zero-sum innovations in healthcare, that is, those IT solutions that everyone benefits from.

Quay Wo Rainard

In particular, one of her projects -commercialization of medical data of ordinary people using blockchain. In her opinion, such an opportunity will allow people to pay for their own medical services using information about their own health. This is especially true for poor countries and regions. Quay Vo Raynard herself is from Vietnam and knows how difficult it is to get quality services in her region firsthand.

“We are creating the health currency of the future,by tokenizing health information. The system uses a blockchain platform to guarantee the security and anonymity of the transaction. We will give people the incentive to digitize their data and monetize it. This is equality for everyone - unlike Facebook, Google and other companies that simply sell your data, ”says Dr. Vo-Rainard.

And to trade such data, Vo-Rainard created a marketplace that allows people to virtually "monetize their diseases." The operation of such a market is based on blockchain technology.

“People will receive tokens that canexchange for cryptocurrency or use to receive some kind of service. For example, for 100 tokens, you will receive a free examination in a certain hospital, "- reveals the principle of operation of his marketplace Vo-Rainard.

Today Vo-Rainard runs the centerresearch of another similar company - The Centiva Health in Zurich. User access to medical data selling services is carried out using The Centiva blockchain-based application.

Dr. Quay Vo-Rainard pays special attention to blurring gender boundaries in the IT world.

My company is different from most - we havethere are women in the founding team. But more broadly, more women are needed in the industry. No, it needs more people in the industry. Gender doesn't matter. When we talk about work, productivity is important, not gender.

Quay Vo-Rainard, MD, Computational Biomedicine, Co-founder of the HIT Foundation

Lana Nagornaya, trading and online education

Digitalization and the ability to traderight from home with the help of the most common gadgets - smartphones - provided additional opportunities for women who want to realize themselves in this largely macho area. Lana Nagornaya, a trader and founder of Invest! Online investment courses, is confident that now the sexist passion of players on the stock exchange has subsided. Especially against the background of the public agenda for universal equality: opportunities and their realization. Although the exchange did not care what gender the trader was before.

“This does not mean that I no longer arrivesarcastic masculine: “Ugh, housewife-trader!” - but now only on Instagram, - says Lana. - In the terminal where I trade, everything is done so that gender differences do not become the subject of conversation. Although I am not in hiding, I am even amused by the big eyes of the men who hear about my financial achievements. "

At the same time, which came along with digitaltechnology, gender anonymity (neutrality) causes a mixed reaction in the market. On the one hand, no one really knows what gender a trader is, but on the other hand, it had a beneficial effect on the feminization of the trader's profession: “It is easier for the stronger sex to live without knowing who is on the other side of the screen,” notes Lana.

Lana Nagornaya

However, a female top manager is still becomingsensation, as if something supernatural had happened. According to Lana Nagornaya, this trend is only acquiring the status of the norm, and it will take some time for the appointment of a woman to top management positions to cease to be news. Nevertheless, the gender bias in the IT giants continues to persist: at Microsoft, only 27% of women, and at Apple - about 30%. Trading, alas, is no exception.

“The Russian trading market still believes thatthat women cannot be successful in this profession, says Lana. “I myself was not hired 15 years ago as a trader-analyst in a St. Petersburg company, however, it was not a matter of what gender I was, but the fact that the Russian economy was then an absolute terra incognita for me”.

Of course, a woman trader is an example forthe rest. And on the courses "Invest!" Lana Nagornaya has mostly women: “For them I become a kind of example. And not just a successful trader, but also a woman in a “male” profession, a mother who managed to combine all this, and a coach who knows how to convey it, ”adds Lana.

Lana Nagornaya

In her opinion, only attitudes and low financial literacy hinder the greater penetration of women into fintech and banking.

For some reason in our country it is still fashionable to saythat women should know about children and cereals, not about money or investments. The worst thing is that many girls believe in it too! True, globalization and personal examples of successful representatives of our sex have already begun to move this lump of inequality. The stock market is equally easy to understand for both men and women. And trading, in my opinion, is even easier for the latter. After all, we risk less, we “collect” more, transferring money for a long term, we think more globally and in advance.

Lana Nagornaya, trader, founder of the "Invest!"

Anima Anandkumar, the Deep Network Learning Revolution

Whoever played computer games at least once knowsNVIDIA company, which creates hardware and software in the field of graphics and systems-on-a-chip. But few people know that the director of machine learning research there is Anima Anandkumar, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, a developer of AI algorithms and a native Indian.

Today, Anima's research focuses onunsupervised artificial intelligence, optimization and tensor methods. But she managed to go a difficult path from the Indian city of Mysore to the best US educational institutions and the largest IT giants (besides NVIDIA, Anima worked at IBM and Amazon Web Services).

Anima Anandkumar

Basic Education in Electrical Engineering Animagraduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, continued her education at Cornell University, where she created her first project on distributed statistics. There, she joined the IBM team, where she worked on scalable algorithms for distributed statistical inference. She worked for a long time in doctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied stochastic systems with Alan Willsky.

Among her projects were Apache MXNet, includingintroduction of new features and development of multimodal processing algorithms, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly. At NVIDIA, she opened new core AI and machine learning labs in Santa Clara. Anima speaks directly to the US government, urging investment in robotics and AI.

In addition to scientific and IT activities, Anima is engaged inadvocating for women's rights; and advocating for gender diversity in the technology sector. Including in his native India. She urged the Ministry of Human Resource Development to end the practice of gender segregation in admission to the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. She also spoke openly about her own experiences of sexual harassment on social media and urged Intel to stop using female acrobats as entertainment at their conferences. In addition, Anima is monitoring university campuses and is working to strengthen monitoring of student sexual harassment.

During my studies in technologythe Institute in Madras had no principles of diversity and integration. There were 26 women for about 600 people. And my classmates jokingly called all the women from our institute "non-men." Women were stripped of their femininity and humanity. PTSD never goes away.

Anima Anandkumar, NVIDIA Director of Machine Learning Research

Melody Yashar, housing construction on Mars

Contrary to the persistent association between the words "Mars" andElon Musk, not all roads of future colonization go to the founder of SpaceX. Iranian-American Melody Yashar founded Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch +), which develops engineering projects to create conditions for life on Mars. Melody develops the design of telerobotic systems for flights to the Moon and Mars. In his practice, he uses experimental, architectural and interactive design methods.

As part of the Mars X-House project, which is being created by the Yashar company, the concept of the first Martian settlement was created. We have arrived at a functional separation of work and living space.

“The lander transports everything to Marsrequired for 3D printing. These will be 3D printers and robotic platforms that allow autonomous printing of the outer shell of the habitat, says Melody. - The basis is a simulation of plastic printing and the movement of robots. This is how 3D printers will work. The final concept looks like this: the outer part of the habitat is printed from the soil of Mars, and the inner elements are made of plastic and dense polyethylene. We just know that the Martian soil contains toxic elements that are dangerous to humans. "

Melody Yashar

In addition to designing space structures, Melodyactively draws public attention to what projects in science and technology are launched by women. Although he admits that the creation of an additional plaque of "female science" creates unnecessary stigma:

“Most of the women I have worked within fact, they are not looking for a “helping hand” that would contribute to an additional focus of the scientific community on their achievements, ”says Melody.

I understand that an objective approach toresearch and scientific discovery based only on their merits. But often systemic obstacles stand in their way, especially when it comes to women or minorities.

Melody Yashar, co-founder SEArch +

IT is no exception:it is still dominated by men. According to Google employee Aida Zhumabekova, men are even more trusted during conversations or when they come to a new team, they voice some idea. And although large corporations are already actively promoting the principles of inclusion and diversity, and the gender composition of teams is gradually balancing, it is very difficult to see a woman in small startups, especially among the founders. However, IT no longer has a male face, and this is confirmed by the names of women scientists, engineers, programmers and traders.

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