SDAIA, Google Cloud launch ‘Elevate’ to empower 25,000 women in AI

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and Google Cloud announced a new collaboration that aims at empowering women globally to pursue careers in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The “Elevate” initiative unveiled during the Global AI Summit will focus on empowering women in emerging markets by training more than 25,000 women over the next five years.

The program offers a four-month curriculum developed in collaboration with Google Cloud, where participants will have access to free training sessions designed to train them with the skills and experience needed for roles like cloud architect, data engineer, machine learning engineer, or cloud business specialist.

The program will also provide mentorship from industry experts at Google Cloud and SDAIA. College students and graduates with a background in STEM have the opportunity to apply for the program.

“Through this initiative, SDAIA and Google Cloud will provide accessible training to women in tech and science who are interested in pursuing a career in AI and ML, so that they are better equipped to pursue the growing number of job opportunities in this field. Elevate strives to close the gender gap in STEM fields, particularly in emerging markets,” said Rehab Alarfaj, SDAIA’s Initiatives General Manager, who announced the initiative. “We are proud to help fund, catalyze, accelerate, and advance women's empowerment in AI both in KSA and around the world.”

While the global AI industry has grown at a rapid pace, women remain underrepresented. Today, women represent 12% of global AI researchers and 8% of professional software developers globally according to a UNESCO study. The study also revealed that only one-fifth of employees in technical roles in major ML companies are women.

“It is imperative that women are empowered to play an important role in scaling digitization. Elevate will help bridge the gap by giving women the opportunity to access training programs in Google Cloud’s products and solutions, which is seeing the fastest growing demand,” said Greta Krupetsky, vice president, Operations & Customer Growth, Google Cloud. “Bolstering computer and data literacy is essential for driving inclusive economic growth today.”

The “Elevate” program is one of several announcements made during the Global AI Summit, where international thought leaders are gathering to discuss the future of AI / ML. The Summit and collaborations announced during the event, such as with Google Cloud and the World Bank, are some of the ways in which the Kingdom is working to achieve its Vision 2030 goals.