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How WWCode Can Support Ambitious Women, According to AI

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Written by Christina RobinsonSeptember 13, 2023
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Recently, I've been having fun playing with AI chatbots. Google's Bard AI has given me suggested packing lists for upcoming trips, veggies that I may be able to grow in my garden (apart from a numb thumb issue), and even recommended some good reads based on books I enjoy. One of the books suggested was All the Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive by Rainesford Stauffer. I've always been ambitious, so this book immediately piqued my interest. 

Professionally, I've always been interested in finding ways to support women to succeed in their goals so I tried to see what suggestions Bard could offer for women specifically. I wondered if there could be something useful to improve my relationship with work or what Bard would suggest when asked about career advice for men, women, and professionals in general. 

Each response started with the line, "Ambition is a powerful force that can drive (women, men, or people, depending on the prompt) to achieve great things in their careers." Move on to the second statement, and we immediately find a divergence. For women, the following line was, "However, ambition can also be a double-edged sword for women." The response then discusses how ambition is a sign of strength and determination. Still, on the other hand, ambition can lead to feelings of imposter syndrome.

The response to the prompt on career ambition for women goes on to talk about how to combat imposter syndrome. Surely that's the end of the differences between the prompt for men and women? Eh, try again. 

Now, the response from Bard moves onto the next topic, "However, it is important to be aware of the challenges that women may face as ambitious women," and then describes gender discrimination, unconscious bias, and the "motherhood penalty." 

I can't say I'm shocked by the difference in responses when asking AI to produce information on ambition in the workplace for different genders. Since AI is trained on and gleans information already available on the internet, it makes sense that this would be the response, as there are well-documented hurdles for women during their careers, especially in fields where they are underrepresented

Blue graphic with screengrab of Bard Google Program on gray laptop screen, including search bar in the middle pulled foward.

With the advice for ambitious women above being very specific, it’s abundantly clear to me the need for organizations to champion diverse women’s voices in the workplace. As an organization, Women Who Code helps women to excel in the workplace with its robust resource library, community, and programming to empower women at every stage of their careers. 

The prompt’s tips for everyone, regardless of gender, on being ambitious in their careers were being clear about goals, persistent, willing to take risks, being a team player, and more. In taking Bard’s advice below, I’ll highlight examples of support for WWCode members: 

  • Be clear about your goals: It’s essential to take a step back and reflect on your career goals regularly. Mentorship can put you on the expressway to meeting your goals, and finding support to create an effective plan for building and maintaining mentor/mentee relationships. For example, WWCode's Career Navigation track provides regular programming and resources to support achieving your goals like finding a mentor. 
  • Be persistent: The habit of being curious and regularly upskilling leads to constant growth in your career. It's essential to continuously learn the latest industry trends and stay current on best practices. WWCode's opportunities page is updated regularly with scholarship opportunities for conferences, coding boot camps, and other giveaways, plus discounted and free conference tickets for members to utilize. Earlier this year, one of WWCode’s programming initiatives, Days of Code Challenges, allowed participants to practice their coding skills daily in an interactive, supportive community environment while focusing on a chosen tech stack(s) and project. 
  • Be willing to take risks: WWCode members are encouraged to Apply Anyway for jobs you may not meet 100% of the qualifications for through the Women Who Code Job Board, where companies are seeking to hire talented, diverse engineers like you.
  • Be a team player: We rise by lifting others. Giving back to your community looks different for everyone, and WWCode has numerous opportunities for you to support fellow technologists in excelling in their career.
    • Volunteers are the heartbeat of WWCode. There are several ways to contribute to the community as a volunteer for one of WWCode's 80+ local Networks or Technical Tracks, including being a Director, Lead, Evangelist, or volunteer. 
    • WWCode’s six Technical Track communities, Cloud, Mobile, Front End, Python, Data Science, and Emerging Tech, are led by an annual cohort of Leadership Fellows. 
    • Through donations, membership and access to all of WWCode’s resources and programming are free. 
  • Find support: Bard suggests “being humble” but instead I encourage you to get connected to people who want to invest in your growth and ability to show up as your authentic self. Although it can be intimidating, we recommend reaching out for help when needed. WWCode Slack communities, connect 343,000 global members passionate about coding and community.

I believe in the mission of Women Who Code and know that this community will continue to impact the lives of countless women around the world. If you haven't already, sign up to be a member and share this information with women in tech in your life. We all need each other to navigate the workspace.

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