Workforce Readiness

New Alliance to Upskill Girls and Women in AI, Coding, and Entrepreneurship

Global tech education nonprofit Technovation has announced The AI Forward Alliance (TAIFA), backed by partners UNICEF, the Grameen Foundation, Google, and others, to increase support for girls and women to work in the AI industry globally.

The effort is being launched in 16 countries spanning five continents, with a goal of skilling 25 million young women in AI, coding, and as educational programming entrepreneurs and preparing 6 million of them to enter the tech workforce by 2030, the organization said.

Despite efforts made in the last 10 years to increase STEM education for girls and women, their numbers as tech professionals remain distressingly low, Technovation said, citing statistics from the World Economic Forum. Less than 30% enroll in information communications technology, and less than 36% in STEM areas.

TAIFA seeks not only to encourage girls and women to enter the tech workforce, but to "train, develop and deploy their own machine learning models and transformative technologies that tackle real-world problems in their communities," the organization said.

Technovation said it hopes to achieve these goals by:

  • Supporting women leaders and innovators as role models and trailblazers for the next generation;
  • Engaging the private sector to support girls' and women's education and empowerment;
  • Implementing large-scale skilling of girls and women in data science and machine learning; and
  • Mobilizing industry leaders, philanthropy, foundations, and individuals to commit resources to help.

Major partners have already stepped forward to commit their resources to the effort:

  • UNICEF will give TAIFA increased access to educators, ministries of education, and girls and women in 144 countries.
  • The Grameen Foundation has committed to expand AI-entrepreneurship training to young women in low-income communities around the world and help their families to accept their new skills.
  • The free, open source App Inventor Foundation will help with the development of resources and training for TAIFA's ecosystem educators and facilitators.
  • Girl Geek X, a 400,000-strong community of women tech, business, entrepreneurial leaders, will provide its expertise.
  • Google and the philanthropic Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF) are funding partners, with PJMF committing to "invest in the exploration, enhancement, and development of AI and data science for good," TAIFA said.

TAIFA and UNICEF have partnered to hold a one-day event, "A World of AI Driven Tech: Addressing a Global Talent Gap," on March 12, 2024, in New York City. Visit TAIFA's event page to learn more and register.

"We are thrilled to build upon our fruitful relationship with these organizations through this groundbreaking collaboration, to elevate diverse, women AI innovators around the world," said Tara Chklovski, CEO of Technovation. "The time to act is now — we've gathered the research, data and anecdotes that effectively illustrate the positive impact young women can have in STEM fields. Together with the Alliance's key partners and supporters, we can make tangible strides towards the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, driving self-reliance and self-efficacy through technology for all women and girls."