A new AI tool is helping women boost their confidence and re-shape the conversation around how women present themselves at work. The tool, BigUp.AI, has been created by a female-led team and has been under beta-testing for eight months. It’s an example of future-focused technology that helps tackle bigger societal issues – in this case, women habitually playing down their successes. And now, women are needed to help train it.
The not-for-profit tool encourages women to self-promote with confidence by using more impactful language. The beta version was launched to coincide with International Women’s Day 2020 and was created in response to research that shows women are four times more likely to shrink their successes.
The goal is for BigUp.AI to be the go-to tool for women to power up their CVs, cover letters and performance reviews. It’s been developed by a team of digital innovators led by Anna-Louise Gladwell, Sara Pouri, Jacqueline Hedge and Gracie Hawes of digital agency AnalogFolk. And, at a time when women’s jobs are especially vulnerable due to Covid-19, the team are issuing a rallying cry for women in all industries to help train the tool.
Anna-Louise Gladwell, Managing Director of AnalogFolk London says;
Since we started beta-testing BigUp.AI earlier this year, we’ve faced a pandemic of global scale that’s made people feel incredibly small. Being at home without work, or consistently applying and getting turned down, makes it easy for women to lose touch with their self-worth. And for those in work, struggling with work/life balance and fearing their voice is being lost can lead to anxiety and burnout. Covid-19 has exacerbated a systemic social issue of female confidence, self-promotion and career advancement. So BigUp.AI is here to remind women of their value and help them find the words to express it.
BigUp.AI uses cutting-edge Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technology to read and analyse sentences. It identifies skills and suggests how to express them in an assertive, persuasive way. The AI was trained using skills found on real CVs and by users in beta stage to build up a broad bank of strengths. The more women who use the tool, the more powerful it becomes. That’s why AnalogFolk need help from women everywhere to get involved and train the tool with text about themselves.
The tool is designed to make improving a professional bio uplifting and fun, with bold, colourful design and reactive stickers to cheer the user on. It’s incredibly easy to use and provides impactful sentences in seconds.Users are asked, ‘Tell us about a strength?’, with some examples to get them started. Their strength is ‘bigged up’ with stronger language, and another option is displayed every time they press the ‘Go bigger!’ button.
Sara Pouri, the creative director behind BigUp.AI, says:
How we say something can have a greater impact than what we say, particularly when it comes to communicating ideas or negotiating. If we talk down our capabilities, we put ourselves at a disadvantage when it comes to pay rises, promotions and getting credit for our hard work. Modesty just isn’t the best policy, yet it’s often so ingrained in women, we don’t realise when we’re doing ourselves a disservice. The ambition of BigUp.AI is to help us recognise when we need to stand tall and tell the world how great we are, and it gives us the language to do it, too.”
BigUp.AI is a response to research from Dr Judith Baxter, published in The Language of Female Leadership. Dr Baxter states women are four times more likely to play down their successes and use language that undermines their value and skill. In comparison, men are twice as likely to emphasise their successes and leadership. A study from MajorPlayers has shown this lack of self-promotion and confidence is linked to a host of negative outcomes such as fewer promotions, less pay, less acceptance of women’s ideas and unrepresentative performance reviews. In the UK, the average gender pay gap stands at 17.3%*.
AnalogFolk has committed its own time, money and resources to developing BigUp.AI and turning it into an app that will eventually be available in different languages. Since the beta launch, the tool has won a D&AD Award for Future Impact. These awards celebrate newly released designs and initiatives that have potential to create tangible positive change on business and society.