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20 August 2021

HSRC women’s month Public Lecture on Women’s Equality in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Doctor Precious Moloi-Motsepe to deliver HSRC women’s month Public Lecture on Women’s Equality in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Pretoria, Friday 20 August 2021 – To commemorate women’s month and to amplify women’s voices in science, technology and innovation, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will host a public lecture on Women’s Equality in the Era of Artificial Intelligence. Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe will deliver the lecture, to be held on Monday 23 August 2021 from 15h00 to 17h30.

Dr Moloi-Motsepe is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Motsepe Foundation. She is also the founder and Executive Chair of the African Fashion International.

The purpose of this lecture is to inspire debate around artificial intelligence and the advancement of technology in relation to gender and race.

The lecture will also aim to encourage mindfulness about the place of women – and particularly black women – in society

According to the HSRC’s Dr Palesa Sekhejane, although artificial intelligence is not conceptually designed to exclude black women, when entering gender and race debates that bring together the sciences and the humanities, it becomes necessary to consider how what something is does not always coincide with how it ought to be used in institutions and society as a whole.

“We ought to be mindful of the fact that artificial intelligence and technology advancements do not exist in a vacuum,” Dr Sekhejane said.

She added that discrimination against and exclusion of women is not merely a tragedy of the past. It is still part of many women’s daily lives, most evident in the continued gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa, and the exclusion of women from economic opportunities.

“In a modern world, increasingly dominated by technological advancement, some forms of discrimination and exclusion may seem more subtle but need to be explored. Even artificial intelligence systems, such as Alexa, Cortana and Siri, have been criticised for being created with female voices responding in provocative tones, reinforcing female stereotypes,” she said.

The lecture is organised in partnership with the Department of Science and Innovation, Durban University of Technology, University of Pretoria, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Women in Science and The Conversation Africa.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date: 23 August 2021

Time: 15h00 to 17h30

Zoom link:

For media enquiries contact: Adziliwi Nematandani – 082 765 9191 or

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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