How Artificial Intelligence Can Solve the Issues Surrounding Gender Equity.
Katica Roy is a gender economist, CEO and founder of Pipeline. Pipeline is a SaaS platform engineered with artificial intelligence to stop unconscious bias in the workplace and increase financial performance. With more than two decades of experience in technology, healthcare and financial services, Roy has a rare combination of expertise and passion for gender equity, people analytics, and sales operations. She pours her knowledge and unique lens into several community and global initiatives, including as a former board member of Edge of Seven and current board member of the University of San Francisco’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, Book Trust, and Isabella Bird Community School, a member of the CU Leeds Women’s Council, and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, as well as a 2018 Colorado Governors’ Fellow. Katica is also an industry entrepreneur, thought-leader, and frequent editorial contributor and speaker, and in 2017 was named a Luminary by the Colorado Technology Association.
About Pipeline: Pipeline is a Denver-based technology company that increases financial performance of companies through closing the gender equity gap. Pipeline’s proprietary SaaS platform uses artificial intelligence to assess, address and action against the gender biases costing the U.S. alone $2 trillion. This issue is not just about good sense, this is about dollars. Big dollars that turn heads to create social change.
Agnes Wielgosz: Katica, as a vocal advocate for closing the gender gap in the workplace, you bring a data-driven view to gender equity. How will the artificial intelligence affect businesses in the future?
Katica Roy: AI can actually be used for good. In fact, we can use AI to narrow the gender gap and engender a more diverse and inclusive workplace. One specific example, Pipeline’s Recommendations™ engine identifies inequity in pay and promotion recommendations before they reach the employee, which allows management to make more equitable decisions. It also provides specific recommendations for an employee’s pay to ensure employees are paid equitably within the company with every single pay decision.
AW: Does Pipeline transparent measurement ensure continual improvement in closing the gender gap?
KR: Yes, Pipeline’s platform ensures that with every decision across the five domains of talent — hiring, pay, performance, potential and promotion — that employers can move to close the gender equity gap. Not only can we tell companies their time to gender parity, we can get them to gender parity.
AW: Can you please explain the difference between two concepts: gender equality and gender equity? Does Pipeline promote equality through equity?
KR: At Pipeline, the word ‘equity’ is dual-purpose. Related to gender and the workplace, equity sets the stage for equality, as it refers to the “fairness of treatment for both women and men, according to the their respective needs.” If equality is the end goal, equity is the means to get there. For more on this see our blog article, Gender Equity Vs. Gender Equality: What’s the Distinction?
AW: The narrowing the gender gap can unleash massive economic growth. How can we leverage new economic gains from closing the gap for a greater social impact?
KR: As we narrow the gender gap, we reduce poverty, we increase innovation and we ensure that the next generation has more opportunity that we have. These benefits have a flywheel effect that creates more wealth and opportunity across generations.
AW: Gender equity has received significant attention among researchers and development practitioners in recent years. Why is women’s empowerment is necessary for sustainable development?
KR: There is mounting evidence of the clear economic benefits of gender equity in the workplace. In fact, in Pipeline’s own research across 6,250 companies in 32 countries we found that for every 7% increase in gender equity there is a 3% increase in revenue.
AW: Does promoting women’s empowerment disempowering men?
KR: Data shows that gender equity is a economic win for everyone. In addition, we need men to be a part of the gender equity conversation. Men are typically the decision-makers in both the public and private sector in the U.S. Because of this the role that men play as sponsors and allies along the gender equity path is key.
We could add $12T to the global economy and $2T to the U.S. economy by reaching gender equity. Whether or not you agree that gender equity is an issue, most of us can agree it’s an economic opportunity. Changing the narrative around the value of women in the workplace is an opportunity not only for women, but for everyone.
AW: Let’s put aside our opinions and imagine it is twenty years from now, we live in the most utopian society ever; there is actually gender equality. All women around the world reap the benefits of their efforts to be inclusive. Gender difference doesn’t look like a “problem to solve” anymore. We are all seeing the advantages in men’s and women’s differences. What kind of emotions this type of situation generate?
KR: Connection and a sense of belonging. Where the 48% of fathers who would like to stay home with their children can do that and the 40% of US households with children where women are the breadwinners are no longer left behind, we now have a society where everyone has the opportunity to live up to their fullest potential — to step into a life the size of their dreams.
AW: The concept of gender equality has been part of your organization. If you could COMMUNICATE one thing to the audience what would it be?
KR: Gender equity is possible in our lifetime. Technological advancements including Pipeline’s upgraded v.3 platform make gender equity possible in our lifetime.The question is no longer can we achieve gender equity, it’s will we choose to?
AW: What is one area where we can EDUCATE people to improve gender equality?
KR: Gender equity is not just a social issue, it is a massive economic opportunity. At a time when we are facing a global human capital crisis — in less than two years we will have 5 million jobs we can’t fill in the US and 40 million globally — we need women to stay in the workforce and succeed. Women are fast becoming the most educated cohort in the US and beyond and yet they are leaving the workforce. We need them to stay and to be successful. Fundamentally, gender equity is about labor economics. Every CEO (and company) can both do well and do good through committing to and actually achieving gender equity.
AW: Please share with us one thing that has INSPIRED you?
KR: President Eisenhower’s decision to send Air Force One to bring 21 Hungarian refugees to the United States on Christmas Day 1956. My father and three sisters were part of the 21 Hungarian refugees on Air Force One. I have never forgotten that it was one act of generosity from a powerful person that made my life and opportunities — including founding Pipeline — possible. My duty is to carry that gift forward so that future generations have more opportunity than what I had.