Meet Dr. Sarah Saska (Sher, Her, Hers)
Tell us about yourself.
As the CEO of Feminuity, I partner with leading technology startups through Fortune 500s to build diverse teams, equitable systems, and inclusive products and company cultures. Before co-founding Feminuity, I led pioneering doctoral research at the intersection of equity, technology, and innovation. My research highlighted the need for companies in the technology and innovation sector to centre ethical and equitable design and became the inspiration for
How did you come up with Feminuity?
When I was in grad school, I led research on the importance of equity and inclusion in the design of technology and innovation. In the process, I found gaps, biases, and blatant inequity in some of the technologies and innovations that are intended to make our lives easier, and better. These technologies weren’t inclusive or accessible for some and were actually harmful to others. Some common examples include facial recognition software that doesn’t detect racialized people’s faces, natural language processing (NLP) that doesn’t recognize different dialects, and risk assessment algorithms that disproportionately assign high crime risk scores to Black people. In the midst of my Ph.D., I took a pause and joined MaRS Discovery District to translate my research into practice, and that’s how Feminuity came to be.
Why is it important for you to support technology and innovation that is equitably and ethically designed?
We’re at a critical moment in history where technology can either exacerbate existing inequities or make things a heck of a lot better. Right now, many tech companies have more political, economic, and social power than entire countries. They are out-pacing law and policy and playing in the proverbial grey in ways that are having real, tangible effects on issues relating to equity and human rights. If left unchecked, we know that technological and innovative solutions will continue to hide, speed up, and deepen various forms of exclusion, discrimination, and inequity. A small sliver of the population should not be able to determine and design technologies that impact the majority of us; technology will be most powerful when everyone is empowered by it.
How has your MA degree in the field of Feminist and Gender Studies helped with your career now?
The ability to bring an orthogonal approach to everything we do!
“Sarah was my RA and my TA. She struck me as very smart, ambitious, creative, energetic, resourceful, open, warm and self-confident. Early on, she saw the power of online communications and technological innovations. Sarah has always been a go-getter and a leader, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that she is where she is today. She continues to impress me with her spirit, her drive and determination.” - Christabelle Sethna, full professor in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies