I choose to challenge

On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day. #ChooseToChallenge was the UN’s call for action, which I decided to heed with the following three challenges:

  1. My challenge to myself:
    1. Share a story of algorithmic gender bias by creating a video story
  2. My challenge to decision-makers controlling translation algorithms
    1. Give us gender-neutral results when translating from gender-neutral languages to gender-specific languages by April 30th this year
  3. My challenge to people who care about gender parity
    1. Share this video story to your social networks using the UN hashtag #ChooseToChallenge

The backstory to these challenges

As I wrote congratulatory messages to female friends on International Women’s Day, I also found myself being sad that we live in 2021 and still need a day to celebrate women’s achievement.

But unfortunately, the sad fact is that we still need to do so. Gender inequality is very much with us today. A quick look at the latest World Economic Forum’s report on the gender gap leads with the headline that it will be a 100 years before gender parity is achieved. I quote:

“None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children. That’s the sobering finding of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which reveals that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years.”

One thing you will notice if you click on the link to the 2020 report is that it was published on December 16th 2019, not in 2020. Googling the WEF Gender Gap Report 2021 yields nothing… no explanation as to why a 2021 has not yet been published. I can understand that 2020 was an exceptional year due to the pandemic, but from what I have read about how the pandemic is disproportionally negatively impacting women, I would have thought that the need for an updated report at the end of 2020 would have been even more necessary.

I understand that reports, like International Days, are no surrogate for action, but even so, I believe they play an important part in raising awareness and keeping the issue on the on the mind of the general public, as well as on the agenda of decision-makers.

My googling for the 2021 Gender Gap report did eventually lead me to a page on the WEF website talking about a project called the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators. I quote from that page:

“Pre-COVID-19 crisis the World Economic Forum predicted that at current rates of progress it will take 257 years to close the economic gender gap”

A call for action if ever there was one. However, since the announcement about this project was first made, a grey box has been added to the webpage informing us that:

“This project is part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society Platform”

I will leave to someone wiser and more informed than me to explain whether this is a good or a bad thing when it comes to gender equality, but perhaps the fact that no report on the gender gap was issued in 2020 (after 14 consecutive years) tells us that the issue might have become moved to a back-burner?

#ChooseToChallenge

So, moving back from the World Economic Forum to the United Nations. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Choose to Challenge. I quote:

“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let’s all choose to challenge.

How will you help forge a gender equal world?
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”

This call to action inspired me to consider what I can do to help forge a gender equal world.

When doing so, I recalled an algorithmic gender bias I stumbled upon a few years ago. Namely, how a translation program I use dealt with translating from Finnish (which uses a gender neutral pronoun ‘hän’) to English (with its gender specific he/she pronouns).

So, I decided to repeat the test and I found out that the same bias still exists in 2021. The program translates hän to he, for example, in relation to dinosaurs, football, work and Prime Minister, which it translates hän to she, for example, in relation to soft toys, dancing, looking after children and being a cleaner. Here are the screenshots I took:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that stories can change the world, so I decided to create a little video story to tell this story about this example of algorithmic gender inequality:

My #ChooseToChallenge

So, I found my Choose to Challenge. In fact, I found three:

Firstly I choose to challenge myself to:

Share the story of this gender bias by creating and sharing this video story

Secondly, I  challenge the decision-makers in charge of algorithms to take gender bias seriously. Specifically, I challenge the leaders of companies responsible for translation algorithms to evaluate, and where necessary change, their algorithms without delay. Even more specifically, I challenge these leaders to:

Give us gender-neutral results when translating from gender-neutral languages to gender-specific languages by April 30th this year

I appreciate it’s a tight deadline for large corporations, but tech companies pride themselves on being agile, so it should not be impossible, right? Here is one example of how the search results could look in May:

Thirdly, I am very aware that I cannot make the above challenge come true on my own, but I do believe that small streams can become mighty rivers, and therefore, I believe that if enough of us raise our voices about this issue, the decision-makers will hear us and be moved to action. So, my third challenge is to everyone who cares about gender equality. My challenge to you is to:

Share this video story to your social networks using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge

If enough people share the video, then perhaps, just maybe, we’ll succeed in making this small, but very visible step towards gender equality happen.

I, for one, say we CAN make gender equality a reality in our lifetime, so let’s do it.

Andrew Cannon

Join the discussion

Further reading

60by60

A transformative journey about seizing the moment and celebrating life’s precious experiences   60by60 I turned 59 today and I’m beyond...

Help non-profit organizations with their fundraising

 

Are you involved in a non-profit organization? A charity, club or association for example? Do you know someone who is?

 

Is that organization interested in raising more funds?

 

The EQJOY card game is a fantastic product for a fundraising campaign.

 

 

Help us find EQJOY Brand Ambassadors

 

Do you know someone famous? Do you know someone who does? Do you think that famous person would like to positively impact children’s mental health by giving them the gift of emotional intelligence and have their personal brand associated with EQJOY?

 

Or…

 

Do you work for a sports team or know someone who does? Do you think that team could be interested in having that brand associated with EQJOY and with empowering children to develop their EQ?

 

Or…

 

Do you work for a company which owns a well-known brand or know someone who does? Do you think the company could be interested in having that brand associated with EQJOY and with empowering children to develop their EQ?

 

If so, click on the button below, tell us who you know and let’s discuss how to make this happen.

 

 

Help us empower even more kids develop their EQ


Are you, or do you know well, any of the following:

 

 

  • A parent of a 6 to 9 year old struggling with their emotions

  • A primary school teacher

  • A middle school teacher

  • A sports psychologist

  • A decision-maker at a museum

 

If so, are you, or do you think they would be, interested in participating in our R&D work and thereby help us bring the gift of emotional intelligence to even more children?

 

If so, click on the button below to find out more about how to get involved with EQJOY’s R&D projects.

 

 

Empower children’s EQ development

 

I ask you to donate to our charity EQJOY Co.

 


EQJOY is on a mission to empower children to develop their emotional intelligence through play. Find out more about EQJOY
here.

 


Your donations will be used to:

 

  • Give children in need packs of the EQJOY card game for free

  • Fund research and development of new EQ development tools

 


There are two paths to donations. For larger donations, click on the Champion Donor button below to find out more about the options. For smaller donations, click on the Donate Now button.

 

Help us spread joy to even more people


Through the Year of Joy community, we have a proven track record of empowering people to harvest more joy in their lives, especially those people struggling to find joy.

 

I ask you to help us give the gift of joy to people by inviting them to join the Year of Joy community to which we are currently offering free membership.

 

Share the link below with the people you know who could do with more joy in their lives.

 

DISCOVER THE JOYS OF BEING A MEMBER OF THE YEAR OF JOY COMMUNITY AND JOIN

 

 

It just might be the biggest gift you give them this year!


If you would like to invite a lot of people, you might be interested in being an official Year of Joy invite partner. Click on the button below to find out more.

 

 

Participate in an Insights Business Impact workshop for free

 

This gift is a special gift to my peers in the market research and insights sector. A sector which has given me so many gifts over the years. 

 

If you work in the sector, or are interested in doing so, I’m offering you the opportunity to participate in one of six free workshops I’ll be running on the topic of the ROI of Insights.

 

During this 3-hour workshop you’ll discover how to measure and demonstrate the business impact of Insights. 

 

You will leave the workshop with a clear understanding of how to measure the value Insights is contributing to the business, as well as how to craft a compelling story to demonstrate that value.

 

Participate in a Discover Your Recipe for Joy workshop for free

 

I’m offering you the opportunity to participate in one of six free workshops I’ll be running. 

 

During this 3-hour workshop you’ll discover the drivers of and the barriers to joy. You’ll be guided on a journey to craft your own Recipe for Joy and will leave the workshop with a plan for taking the next steps on your path to harvesting more joy in your life.

 

Receive a free Joy Superpower webinar for your organization

 

I’m giving away 24 Joy Superpower webinars for free.  

 

During the webinar I will share how through the Year of Joy initiative we were able to significantly boost people’s joy levels and I will lead the webinar attendees on a journey to discover how they can build their own joy muscles as well as bring more joy to the lives of others.