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Gender Imbalance in Data Science Industry

I came across this elaborate study by Kaggle on the state of the Machine Learning and Data Science industry. The survey was taken was 23,997 people across 173 countries. It's captures some interesting facts and some that didn't surprise me much but the one that got my attention and left me with a knot in my stomach is the continued gender imbalance.

Gender imbalance is not new news, obviously. The worrisome aspect of the graph is the number of women in the field is not getting any better and there has been a slow decline. This is bad news and trend that needs to be reversed with a concerted effort from all of us.

Here are a few things that I feel can be done to reverse this trend.

1. Role of Parents: Parents are at the centre of inspiration and drive for kids. The interest in the field should be planted much sooner than it is today. Just like we talk to our kids about the field of medicine, engineering or law, we need to talk to them about Data science and Machine learning. This field should be an important consideration in college applications and this can not happen without awareness.

2. Role of Teachers: I read this quote somewhere and it stuck with me.

A good teacher explains...

A great teacher inspires....

Teachers need to talk to their students about opportunities in new fields and bring in industry experts to explain how these new sciences are changing the way the world operates. Attending talks and meeting leaders in the space that can help shape the mindset of our next generation can go a long way.

3. Role of administrators: Training the trainer. Teachers should be given opportunities to further their education on these subjects as well. If a teacher doesn't what Machine Learning is, it's unlikely they will be able to inspire any one to explore that as a subject. Administrators, need to ensuring that new sciences are being mandated as part of teacher training across our country.

4. Role of Schools and School boards: We need thought leaders in the education space to enable a swift change in high school curriculum to include foundational education on these subjects in so these are not coming to our students as an afterthought. Offering electives on Data science and machine learning can be a great way to spark interest or offer students an opportunity to explore their passion for the field.

5. Role of YouDoAI:

We at YouDoAI deeply care bringing more women to tech. I recently spoke to group very talented and bright young high schoolers at Palo Alto's Henry M Gunn High School. I was invited by one of my students to come in as a speaker to @GunnGirlsTech Club. I had 20 mins with a room full of young women and at the end of the 20 mins, I had a long list of those who were interested to learn more and I am so proud to offer them free education to continue fueling that fire!

Reach out if you are passionate about this topic as well - Let's fix this!

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