The rise of algorithm-powered technology in the telecommunications industry has been criticised for reproducing gender bias, particularly in Artificial Intelligence-driven (AI) products. This interdisciplinary and intersectoral project explores the gender bias within the Spanish telecommunications industry as a direct consequence of the lack of women in the sector. The purpose is to develop a multi-methodological study that allows to draw attention and evidence the gender gap and the consequent lack of a gender perspective within this industry in Spain. The central hypothesis is that the current gender gap in the sector leads to lack of integration of a gender perspective leading consequently, to the reproduction of gender bias in AI technologies. This, as a result, produces a setback in gender equality. To explore this, the study asks the following questions: what is the degree of the gender gap within the telecommunications industry in Spain? Are measures being taken to address this? To answer these questions, I will gather data on two levels: first, at the general level by implementing a quantitative survey-based methodology, targeting 400 industry insiders to gain information on the gender gap in the overall sector; and second, at the specific level, by carrying out a case-study through my secondment at Telefónica, Investigación y Desarrollo (TID), a Spanish leading research centre in new technologies where I will use qualitative-based methodologies to investigate its gender bias and its lack of integration of a gender perspective. A major outcome of this research is the production of a report to be handed to TID with specific guidelines for the incorporation of a gender perspective that will help them reduce their gender bias in their AI technologies and improve the commercialisation of their products. This report will have the potentiality of becoming a benchmark study for further research in the field, particularly within the European context.
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