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Mary Kay Inc. Joins Forces with the Equal Rights Trust to Pioneer Research on Gender Inequality in Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence

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Mary Kay Inc., a global leader in women’s empowerment, today announced a partnership with the Equal Rights Trust (ERT), an organization whose mission is to eliminate all forms of discrimination and ensure everyone can participate in society on an equal basis. Established in 2007, the Trust works in partnership to advance equality through law around the world. As part of this collaboration, Mary Kay Inc. will help ERT jumpstart an innovative field of research on artificial intelligence and algorithms through a gender-based lens.

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Equal Rights Trust logo (Graphic: Mary Kay Inc.)

“As a company founded on the mission to enrich the lives of women everywhere, Mary Kay is constantly on the lookout for organizations we can partner with to make an impact for gender equality globally,” said Julia Simon, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Diversity Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “We’re excited to support Equal Rights Trust on their work to help advance equality by design and beyond forge a way forward to collaborations with the private sector. Our work with ERT is specifically focused on framing the new landscape of artificial intelligence and gender equality, a growing concern in the digital age.”

Mary Kay’s support to the ERT will pioneer a new field of research on the discriminatory impact of algorithmic systems. ERT has developed and promoted models of equality impact assessment, advocating an “equality by design” approach in public and private decision making as a means to ensure non-discrimination and equality of participation. An immediate priority is to launch an initiative to establish and address the emerging discriminatory impacts of algorithmic decision-making, specifically as it relates to gender.

“The use of algorithms and artificial intelligence is spreading,” said Ariane Adam, Deputy Director of the Equal Rights Trust. “These technologies are rapidly becoming essential parts of the analytical, communication, and even legal infrastructure for our societies. Despite the global proliferation of such systems, we are only just beginning to understand the flaws, limitations, and boundaries of algorithmic decision making, especially in terms of discrimination. We’re pleased to partner with Mary Kay to shine light on the potentially discriminatory impacts of using such technologies, in particular for women.”

The delivery of the initiative can be broken into three phases:

  • Phase 1: research on emerging discriminatory impacts of the use of algorithmic-decision making in the areas of employment, access to loans, and access to housing,including a focus on the impact of women as a group particularly exposed to discrimination in these contexts.
  • Phase 2: engagement with a wide-range of actors to develop advocacy strategies to call for an equality by design approach in the design, development, roll-out and monitoring of AI technologies.
  • Phase 3: engaging with international, regional and national actors to set standards mandating an equality by design approach.

The partnership with the Equal Rights Trust is just the latest initiative supported by Mary Kay in 2021 to advocate for gender equality everywhere. For nearly 60 years, Mary Kay has been committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world.

ABOUT EQUAL RIGHTS TRUST

The Equal Rights Trust is an independent international non-governmental organization which exists to eliminate discrimination and ensure everyone can participate in society on an equal basis. To achieve this mission, it works in partnership with equality defenders – civil society organizations (CSOs), lawyers, government representatives, and others committed to using law to create an equal world – providing them with the technical, strategic and practical support they need to work for the adoption and implementation of comprehensive equality laws. Since 2007, it has supported equality defenders in almost 50 countries, while developing consensus at the international level on the need for and content of comprehensive equality laws. Learn more at equalrightstrust.org

ABOUT MARY KAY

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company 58 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at marykayglobal.com

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Contact information

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications
marykay.com/newsroom
972.687.5332 or media@mkcorp.com

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