Deloitte AI Institute

Women in AI

Creating, connecting and strengthening global networks

A lack of gender diversity could lead to biases in AI systems

We talk about innovation all the time. We talk about what the catalysts for innovation are. Here’s one you may not always think of:

  • “Diversity of perspective can be a catalyst for innovation. However, women within the field of AI and advanced technologies continue to remain unrepresented across this field.”
    — Heather Stockton, Global Offerings & Assets Leader, Vice Chair & Partner, Deloitte Canada
  • Innovation thrives when ideas are shared, challenged, and refined.

  • “We know that Influential leaders transform the world around us. However, several voices are underrepresented amongst this powerful elite and across the AI research space, especially at the senior board level—women.”
    — Jas Jaaj, Managing Partner, National AI and Data Leader, Deloitte Canada

Women should be better represented in AI in research, academia, senior leadership positions, and AI application development for the real world.

women holding tablet

Did you know?

First, the good news: Demand for AI is expected to continue to grow. A 2020 LinkedIn report found that Artificial Intelligence Specialist is the top emerging job in the United States, with hiring growth for the role increasing 74% annually over the past 4 years.

But there's also not-so-good news: The 2021 AI Index Report from the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI found that women make up just 16 percent of tenure-track faculty focused on AI globally.

There has been persistent and unmoving lack of gender diversity in AI for a while. In 2019, women accounted for 22 percent of all AI and computer science PhD programs in North America, just 4 percent higher than in 2010.

Women make up only 26 percent of data and AI positions in the workforce. Research on labor market segregation along gender lines has revealed that professional segregation of men and women into differentiated sectors contributes to lower innovation levels in professions which lack gender diversity.

Percentage of women:


of all AI and computer science PhD programs in North America


of tenure-track faculty


of data and AI positions in the workforce

There’s ample evidence that gender diversity matters:

In business in general, companies with diverse boards perform better, companies that prioritize gender diversity in executive leadership have higher net returns in their equity markets, and higher productivity is correlated with gender diversity.

Women should have leaders who they can see themselves in and can mentor and guide them to next levels–AI is no exception. And AI should have diverse creators–because if it doesn’t represent all humans it can turn into unfair, unintended advantages that could leave people out.

AI teams who are diverse can effectively define the problem to solve, design the solution, and construct and train the algorithms through a broader lens. A lack of gender diversity could lead to biases with AI systems. In short, women’s perspectives can bring insights and value that help enable AI teams to develop more valuable products–whether that’s analyzing climate change, diagnosing disease, or helping architects build better buildings.

  • “Research has indicated that a diverse workforce generates higher returns and is more likely to make better decisions. To truly drive value, leading companies should consider that diverse and inclusive workplaces are not simply a compliance obligation, but instead create conditions for high performance teams who strengthen business strategy and results. For this reason, I’m excited for you to hear how we are turning up the dial to develop programs tailored to the needs of our talent.”
    — Heather Stockton, Global Offerings & Assets Leader, Vice Chair & Partner, Deloitte Canada

Why increasing gender diversity in AI matters to Deloitte and what we’re doing about it

In 2021, Deloitte started a dialog about gender parity in AI.

We produced a ground-breaking report–Women in AI– for which we interviewed women holding leading AI-related leadership positions, including chief scientists, heads of AI-related business development and product integration, and CEOs and founders at AI firms.

In March 2021, we started Leading Conversations in AI, a series of monthly “meetups” presented by our Deloitte AI InstituteTM focusing on top-of-mind AI topics with leading experts from startups, enterprises, academia, and research groups.

And in March 2022–on International Women’s Day one year ago–we summed up our incredible year of Leading Conversations in a LinkedIn post.

And then we took the next step.

"We need your help working from ‘within’–helping companies, research groups, and academic institutions understand how more women in AI benefits all of us."

Who will be the next women leaders in AI?

Our Women in AI–Global AI Leadership Development Program

They might just be in our first cohort in the Deloitte Women in AI program, a one-of-a-kind leadership program that has been designed to offer a unique experience for our exceptional female talent across Deloitte Global. As a global collaboration across the Deloitte AI InstituteTM, this program promotes learning, building connections, and celebrating equality of women leaders in AI.

These future leaders hope to not only influence a culture within Deloitte and serve as a model for other companies, but also to extend that influence into the broader AI.

Through roundtable discussions, sharing leading practices, and collaboration, we are working towards a common goal to elevate the next generation of female leaders across the sector of AI. Our collaborations with industry leaders and preeminent postsecondary institutions across the AI ecosystem are intended to inspire people to embrace bold ideas and think differently. We’re connecting cohort participants with peers, mentors, researchers, and industry specialists.

Meet some of our module leaders:

Dr Anna Goldenberg Portrait

Dr. Anna Goldenberg

Dr. Anna Goldenberg is an assistant professor in the department of computer science at the University of Toronto in the Computational Biology Group. Her specialty is developing machine learning methods to decipher human disease heterogeneity.

Dr. Joanna Batstone Portrait

Dr. Joanna Batstone

Dr. Joanna Batstone is the professor and director of the Monash Data Futures Institute in the UK and former vice president, innovation, IBM Corporate Strategy. She is a leading global expert on AI, data analytics, and technology and using AI and data science for good.

Dr. Cynthia Rudin Portrait

Dr. Cynthia Rudin

Dr. Cynthia Rudin is an Earl D. McLean, Jr. Professor at Duke University, and directs the Interpretable Machine Learning Lab. She is the recipient of the 2022 Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity, the most prestigious award in the field.

Here’s what we’ve done so far and what our participants had to say.

  • In collaboration with the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, six modules with seven Deloitte lectures and six Academic lectures that are followed by “Ask Me Anything” sessions hosted by the Academic researcher
  • Five modules with four Deloitte lectures and five Academic lectures
  • Five mentor-led pod meet-ups: self-directed regional networks of five-six program participants paired with a data and AI mentor
  • Programs featuring more than 28 female Deloitte practitioners from 25 geographies
  • Two panels with leading female voices from companies around the globe, including Manulife (Canada), Zindi (South Africa), Google (Luxembourg), Arteria AI (Canada), European Commission, and Phoenix Group (UK)
“The session was motivational and inspiring.” “I appreciated the short and sweet summary of the use case examples.” “I’m impressed with how structured this program is.”

A long-term metaverse strategy to help enhance learning

Our module presentations may be done, but we are not.

Now, we’re working on plans to enhance the Women in AI participant experience by developing a long-term metaverse strategy. This pilot program will continue our commitment to leadership training by creating an immersive learning experience using VR-led virtual worlds, 3D design assets, AI-embedded role-playing experiences, and more.

The next women leaders in AI are out there.

We should find them, nurture them, advance them, mentor them, and help them succeed. We will all be better for that. On this International Women’s Day 2023, please reflect on how you can be part of this effort to help celebrate today’s and tomorrow’s women leaders.

  • “AI will change the way we work, communicate, make decisions, and interpret the world around us. But, whether AI makes us better businesses–and better people–is in our hands… This journey is not one we want to take alone–reach out to us to see how we can build and realize the next frontier of AI.”
    — Beena Ammanath, Executive Director, Global Deloitte AI InstituteTM, Deloitte Consulting LLP

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