A leading feminist writer and activist has been unveiled as the keynote speaker at a national data summit in Edinburgh next month.
Author Caroline Criado-Perez will address the issues raised in her best selling work “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men,” and take part in a panel discussion on the topic of women in data as part of The Scotsman’s data conference at the University of Edinburgh.
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The 2019 edition of the conference, titled “Doing data right: Through people and partnerships” will tackle complex issues including social inclusion and ethics, bringing together leaders from business, academia and the public and charity sectors to address data’s place in modern Scotland.
Ms Criado-Perez will use her keynote speech to shine a light on the problems surrounding diversity in jobs and skills for women in the industry.
Recent figures show just 16 per cent of women are employed as IT professionals across the UK, while female bosses hold just over ten per cent of STEM FTSE directorships.
The conference – which is being presented in partnership with the University of Edinburgh – comes after more than £600 million worth of investment for data driven innovations (DDI) was announced as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region deal.
The DDI programme launched in September 2018 to tackle a range of industry and social challenges in partnership with the private, public and third sectors.
Jarmo Eskelinen, director of the data driven innovation programme at the University of Edinburgh said: “We’re thrilled to have Caroline as our keynote. She’s done pioneering work in gaining recognition for women in media, politics and society at large.
“Data-driven services are only as good as the data behind them, and can be discriminating to women because of a conscious or unconscious bias or the development process – Caroline’s work has made the innovators much more aware of this.”
Other speakers on the panel discussion include Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the global non-profit Open Knowledge Foundation, Professor Gillian Hogg, of Heriot-Watt University and Talat Yaqoob, director of Equate Scotland, which works to encourage more women into STEM subjects.