I would like to give special thanks to Karen Schoellkopf, who recently put together data sets detailing the latest diversity reports from the top U.S. tech companies. The data sets outline company diversity according to gender and race. It includes info on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, and Linkedin. I published the data sets into a Google doc which can be viewed here.
While studying the data sets, keep in mind that the numbers are broken down into 3 categories: company diversity as a whole, diversity in company tech departments, and diversity in non-tech departments. It should come at no surprise that there are less WOC working in tech departments than non-tech ones. While I’m careful to not draw any conclusions about gender bias based on data, I will state the obvious: we need more WOC in tech. However, I personally don’t believe placing exasperated demands on hiring managers is the solution until we first increase the amount of employable women with actual tech skills.
There are also a few questions that I think we as advocates are ignoring whether unconsciously or not: Do women with tech skills actually want to work at these companies, or are they exploring other options in other parts of the country? What does the diversity data at other tech companies across the nation look like in comparison? How many WOC are graduating with CS degrees and choosing not to work in the tech industry? What is the retention rate of WOC at these companies? How does stereotype threat and gender bias play into education expectations for girls 6-18 years old? What are the parental-leave policies like at these companies? Has the work-life balance become unrealistic for women who work in tech? I hope to explore these questions in the future and create a strategy plan for Our Code to guide #womenintech advocates.
I have to admit, I didn’t spend more than 6 minutes studying the data because I already know that the tech industry is predominantly made up of White and male employees. I don’t want to get caught up in the problem, I want to explore solutions. That’s why Our Code exists: to provide a space for encouragement and sharing resources for disenfranchised women to learn, get connected, and grow. It doesn’t matter to me how women choose to use their tech skills, nor where they choose to work and for how long. My main focus is making sure women like me know about tools that will help them learn code and become web developers rather than just consumers.
Basically what I’m saying is don’t worry about those numbers. It should not affect your journey. Focus on your learning objectives, goals, and enjoy the process.
Browse the data set if you have time. You can also follow Schoellkopf’s work in increasing the amount of women hired in the tech industry here.
**Update: we now have Apple’s diversity data.