The Impact of AI on the Lives and Rights of Women in the US and the Middle East

Data and AI in Society Forum Series

Oct. 10, 2023
12:00–1:30 PM
2239 Lane Hall, 204 S. State St., Ann Arbor

Image credit: MidJourney


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming every aspect of our society and our lives. However, just like any emerging technology, AI’s impact varies greatly for different demographic groups, in different geographic regions, and is shaped by social conventions, culture, religion, economic realities, among many other factors. We invite everyone who is interested in understanding the impact of AI to join Marina Alsahawneh and Merve Hickok for a discussion of the impact of AI on women in the US and the Middle East. They will discuss gender biases in AI algorithms, opportunities and gender inequity in the AI-enabled workforce, and cyber-based violence against women. They will discuss how these intersect with the political, social, cultural, economic and religious features of different geographic regions.


Marina Alsahawneh: Technologist responsible for Gender Equality Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) at the Jordan Open Source Association since 2021. She is a SYLFF Association fellow and holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Jordan, where she worked as a teaching assistant at the Center for Women’s Studies.

Over the past six years, Marina has been actively involved in fields related to gender and technology. She has been writing and speaking on topics related to cyber gender-based violence and gender bias in AI. She collaborates with academics to bridge the divide between researchers in the humanities and those in computer sciences and tech development, believing that the lack of interdisciplinary cooperation contributes significantly to the bias embedded in technology today.

At the Jordan Open Source Association, Marina has worked on various projects related to cyber gender-based violence in Jordan that aimed at empowering women in technology and through technology. She is part of various initiatives within JOSA that focus on empowering women in Jordan’s ICT sector, including boot camps designed to facilitate the entry of interested women into the industry as well as awareness events that underscore the importance of their participation for more equitable and bias-free technologies. She also leads studies and policy papers at the intersection of gender and technology through collaborations between JOSA, various NGOs, and social media platforms.

Merve Hickok-

Merve Hickok: MIDAS Responsible Data and AI Advisor. Merve is also the founder of She is a globally renowned expert on AI policy, ethics and governance. Her contributions and perspective have featured in the Guardian, CNN, Forbes, Bloomberg, Wired, Scientific American, Politico, Protocol, Vox, The Economist and S&P. Her research, training and consulting work focuses on the impact of AI systems on individuals, society, public and private organizations – with a particular focus on fundamental rights, democratic values, and social justice. She provides consultancy to C-suite leaders, and training services to public and private organizations on Responsible AI development, due diligence and governance. She also teaches data ethics at University of Michigan, and serves as a Board member in multiple organizations.

Merve is the President and Research Director at Center for AI & Digital Policy, deeply engaged in global AI policy and regulatory work. The Center educates AI policy practitioners and advocates across 60+ countries, advises international organizations (such as European Commission, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, OECD).

Merve has provided testimony to the US Congress, State of California Civil Rights Office, New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Detroit City Council, and many global organizations interested in AI policy and ethics. 

Merve also works with several non-profit organizations globally to advance both the academic and professional research in this field for underrepresented groups. She has been recognized by a number of organizations – most recently as one of the 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics™ – 2021, and as Runner-up for Responsible AI Leader of the Year – 2022 (Women in AI).

Previously, Merve held various senior roles in Fortune 100 companies for more than 15 years.


Jing Liu

Jing Liu, Executive Director, MIDAS