Machines can finally think. For decades now, we have been on the brink of scientific advancement that allows machine-based programmes or applications to predict, decide and recommend based on objectives. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, works in an autonomous manner to imitate certain aspects of human intelligence. But what does this mean for women in the workforce?The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that 11 per cent of jobs held by women -- a higher percentage than those currently held by men -- are actually at risk of elimination as a result of AI and other digital technologies. This is essentially because the percentage of women who specialise in STEM subjects and the STEM workforce is significantly lesser than men.Women AI The Perfect MatchHowever, all is not lost. If women are smart enough to recognise the value of the digital revolution and harness the power of AI effectively, it can be used to their advantage across all industries. Ulrik Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an inter-governmental organisation, said, If we do not promote the fair and full participation of girls and women in the digital future of our societies, we are setting ourselves up for a digital future that will be less rich, less innovative and less fair. We have to address the gender gap in the AI ecosystem and ensure that the future of work is equitable and inclusive.Women are at an advantage since they work in areas that require collaboration between technology and human intervention. They are a natural fit to implement AI at their workplaces, as they are adept at managing data and identifying gaps that can be efficiently filled by AI solutions. However, to ensure that this is possible, companies need to reskill their workforce and train their staff across all divisions and levels.In India alone, companies across sectors such as healthcare, finance, and even retail, are increasingly using AI, which is touted to add $500 billion to the economy by as early as 2025. Take AI in healthcare, for instance. The number of women clinicians and lab technicians in India is high. They can reskill and employ AI-based applications for precision diagnostics and critical findings. It becomes a support tool rather than a replacement.The first and most critical advantage of Artificial Intelligence is at the hiring level, says human resources consultant, Meghna Brar. Its a great tool to acquire talent without the unconscious bias that women encounter if designed well. Instead of emotion, AI is driven by logic, keeping skills and accomplishments at the forefront. It is also able to match the right person to the right job on a purely automated basis, taking into account only facts.Women also feel more encouraged to apply for jobs when they know they are not being judged for their gender. Once theyre hired, it is also important to retain staff and ensure that they are given access to leadership positions. Promotions, salary increments, and other such incentives to keep women in the workforce are also meted out fairly and without bias if AI is used. After getting on board the hiring-through-AI bandwagon, Unilever reported a 16 per cent increase in diversity hires. This may work well for white-collar women workers who rely on office environments, but what about grey- and blue-collar women? Although these are traditionally associated with men, there is no denying that a significant number of women participate in jobs ranging from agriculture to masonry. In fact, almost 80 per cent of rural women participate in the agricultural sector alone. Using AI-powered machinery and programmes can prove beneficial to them if one invests in the upskilling and training required to work with these machines in a supervisory capacity. In fact, AI can help detect the right time to sow seeds, harvest crop, predict yields, and so on for agriculturalists.Women In AIWhen it comes to women pursuing a career in AI itself, the sky is the limit and the opportunities, endless. However, according to a study published by UNESCO, only 18 per cent of authors at leading AI conferences are women and more than 80 per cent of AI professors are men. The share of women credited in scientific publications is less than 20 per cent. However, among these, India has the highest proportion of women in scientific publications, at around 28 per cent, which is promising.Muthukumar Thamilmani, CTO Director of Pixxon AI Solutions, says, As a career for women, Artificial Intelligence is a fast-evolving field, but not every programmer can go into AI. It requires selective talent. These days, AI is a specialty course even at the bachelor's level so that women can begin their careers from graduation. Technically, AI is centralised into any corporate or organisation, so working remotely is easy, offering flexibility to women who want to work from home. As its in its infancy stages, women who choose to pursue AI will have a first-mover advantage and the opportunity to become pathbreakers. It is a highly remunerative field and, in my experience, there is no pay parity or discrimination based on gender; it is purely skill-based.A Brand New FutureAs per the Union Budget 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence in India, realising the vision 'make AI in India' and 'make AI work for India'. In addition, plans are on the anvil to launch three centres of excellence for AI at top educational institutions. Leading industry players have been roped in to partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities.Muthukumar adds, Artificial intelligence is a powerful catalyst that can positively impact women's careers in various fields, unlocking new opportunities and driving inclusive growth. By embracing the power of AI, women can break barriers, shatter stereotypes and achieve greater gender equality in the workforce, paving the way for innovation, empowerment and a more diverse future.'