Fe/male Switch
Startup Playbook: success through failure

Cut the BS out: gender bias in text and how to remove it.

Women’s representation in society remains to be a critical issue, with many taking effort to resolve it but hardly anyone succeeding in it. When building a sustainable future, no one should be left behind – women, who represent roughly half of the world population, must be heard and valued, as they are critical to finding solutions to the greatest challenges society faces today. And don't forget that by not targeting women as your potential customers, you are cutting your revenue in half.

Check out the MVP version of the tool and verify that your text is bias free. Insert your blog, post, essay or anything else and get the verdict together with possible corrections sent to your email address. It's free and fun.

In a recent interview with Human Resources Online, Fe/male Switch CEO and co-founder of CADChain, Violetta Bonenkamp elaborated on the topic, saying:

I grew up in Russia, where a woman is supposed to get married and spend her days in the kitchen or working a lifestyle job. Now, in the Netherlands, I am a CEO of a legal tech startup, yet most people are shocked to hear that I didn’t come here to get married but to join a start-up incubator. Bias is inherent to all individuals and the best way to fight it is with a systematic approach. Acknowledging that we are biased is the first step to fixing the issue.

Being an avid entrepreneur, I am always looking for scalable solutions to problems: in this case, I simply decided to create a nonprofit game for future entrepreneurs that will not only increase the number of female entrepreneurs, but will also help collect data for a bias score algorithm. Anyone will be able to verify how biased their written speech is.

Violetta is a renowned and respected female leader in the tech industry, whose experience is indeed second to none. She has an MBA and four more master's degrees. She is a blockchain and AI expert, an educator, a PR specialist, with knowledge in neuroscience and psychology, among many other things. And most importantly, she has a vast entrepreneurial experience. She loves building products and already has dozens of solutions that she built and brought to market.

Learn more about Bias Score, Gender Intelligence, how it helps minimize risks and costs, and how adding more women can help a company grow. Join our Startup School and get access to our knowledge base!

As a team, we got involved with data analytics and machine learning a while back and are creating a Bias Score (BS) algorithm as one of the most prominent use cases for LLMs (Large Langue Models). We added our expertise in blockchain to the mix and, thus, a unique proposition got created. BS addresses gender inequality within textual data sources and gives ownership to the women who create the underlying datasets or algorithms.

The problem that fuels misinformation and lack of transparency lies in ignoring how different genders experience events, texts, speech, and other forms of data. Most datasets are taken from a male perspective, which results in gender bias being embedded in almost every form of written content. It's not uncommon for someone to talk about inclusivity and diversity and then use a word like "brotherhood", which effectively excludes women.  

Our algorithm will serve as a stamp of approval for a company’s data usage and provide transparent insights (while respecting privacy) in their BS.

How the Bias Score Algorithm helps to give data ownership back to women

Our algorithm evaluates articles, essays, educational content, business pitches and generates a gender bias score, while indicating what needs to be fixed in order to improve the text. A simple prototype is already available for anyone to try out.

The second problem we address with this algorithm is data ownership. In a world where large corporations dictate how they use your data and do not compensate you, we are losing control over our data.

To tackle this issue, we gamify the creation, annotation, and validation of data and reward for related tasks. Our algorithm can be used to serve as a stamp of approval for a company's data usage and provide transparent insights in their bias scores.

The result of this project will be the technology that tracks the ownership – while respecting privacy – of the female-owned dataset and the algorithm that scores text based on how biased it is. We are cutting the BS out of data.

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CADChain is a Dutch deeptech startup with a focus on emerging technologies, R&D, education and intellectual property. As part of our CSR, we established Fe/male Switch, a nonprofit RPG with a focus on bringing more women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 

Want to play and build your own startup? Apply for the official launch of Fe/male Switch startup game and play with other female founders, mentors and investors! Coming soon!

Bias Score is part of the MediaFutures project.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s framework Horizon 2020 for research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 951962.

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