Everything we do today relies on and/or uses data in some way or another. Research on any topic – from covid to climate to investing to your favorite sports team. Your smartphone. Your computer. Searching terms in Google or Bing or Yahoo or on Twitter or Instagram or on any website or platform. The list goes on and on and on…
Those searches use terms and algorithms programmed into it by someone – and 82% of the time, that person is a male (and white). Women make up only 18% of data scientists, and put data at risk of being biased.
“Relying on biased information undermines the effectiveness of evidence-based policymaking. A potential source of bias in many datasets is that most of the world’s data scientists—i.e., the people who collect, organize, analyze data, and make decisions—are men.” That’s from the Center for Global Development, and says, in essence “garbage in, garbage out.”
We’ve all experienced getting weird stuff in our searches. I’ve searched normal words like “sustainability” on some websites and received photos of scantily clad women (I’ll leave those sites nameless at the moment, but suffice it to say I reported it every time).
We need more women working in data science, and staying in the field, for us to get high-quality data. And remember that a great deal of funding decisions and public health decisions are based on that data and the research behind it. We need it to be as unbiased as possible, so we need more women in the field.
Here are five unconventional career tips from two top women in data science, at different career stages:
Olivia Martin is a data scientist at USAFacts, a nonpartisan nonprofit founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. She’s a wise soul who is already at the top of her field early in her career. I recently interviewed her on my podcast, now called Electric Ladies, about USAFacts’ State of the Earth report.
Allison Sagraves, is Chief Data Officer of a top national financial institution who also gave a fascinating TED Talk on citizen data science a couple of…
Continue reading: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanmichelson2/2021/08/31/5-unconventional-career-tips-from-top-women-in-data-science/