Towards gender equality in digital welfare
Guiding principles for developing ADMS that promote gender equality


Social protection programmes are going digital. Datafication and profiling are replacing would-be face-to-face interactions with caseworkers. Core decision-making processes, as well as their execution, are being partially or completely delegated to automated procedures, producing automated decision-making systems (ADMS). 

The report is a primer for policymakers seeking to exploit technology’s potential in welfare while promoting gender equality. The underlying premise is that technology is never a benign instrument. Instead, it incorporates biases and ways of functioning that, in the case of welfare, have been entrenched throughout history. 

If accompanied by an understanding of gender inequality mechanisms in both traditional and more recent digital welfare systems, integrating ADMS in welfare can be a revolutionary process. It even has the potential to amend dated assumptions about gender roles and design a social protection system that truly empowers women and leads to a more equitable society for all. 
Feminism starts with valuing lived experiences, since women’s experience has been mostly ignored. Instead, lived experience is form of expertise. Representing women only in numbers would be irresponsible since data about them are not collected, you need qualitative data.
Quote's Author
Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT