Man is to Computer Programmer as Woman is to Homemaker? Debiasing Word Embeddings

NIPS |

Machine learning algorithms are optimized to model statistical properties of the training data. If the input data reflects stereotypes and biases of the broader society, then the output of the learning algorithm also captures these stereotypes. In this paper, we initiate the study of gender stereotypes in {\em word embedding}, a popular framework to represent text data. As their use becomes increasingly common, applications can inadvertently amplify unwanted stereotypes. We show across multiple datasets that the embeddings contain significant gender stereotypes, especially with regard to professions. We created a novel gender analogy task and combined it with crowdsourcing to systematically quantify the gender bias in a given embedding. We developed an efficient algorithm that reduces gender stereotype using just a handful of training examples while preserving the useful geometric properties of the embedding. We evaluated our algorithm on several metrics. While we focus on male/female stereotypes, our framework may be applicable to other types of embedding biases.