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Technology Sector Still Lagging In Gender Diversity

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 7/30/2014

Recent reports show that Twitter, Facebook and other tech giants have a long way to go when it comes to hiring women for tech roles, while Pinterest represents a small bright spot for female tech professionals.

Gender diversity continues to be an elusive target for technology companies. Although the lack of women in technology roles has been well documented, recent reports highlight the gender gap that currently exists in some of the nation's leading tech companies and underscore the need for change in the industry's hiring and recruitment policies.

Gender Discrimination and Diversity in Tech Sector

This week, Twitter released its diversity numbers, showing a wide disparity between the number of male and female employees. According to Bizwomen, only 30 percent of all Twitter employees are female. When it comes to tech-related jobs, that percentage drops even further, with just 10 percent of Twitter's technology jobs currently filled by female workers.

And Twitter isn't alone. At Google, women comprise 17 percent of the technology workforce, while Facebook and Yahoo both report that women fill 15 percent of the technology jobs in their organizations.

Female Hiring at Pinterest

Among technology firms, Pinterest leads the way in female hiring. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 21 percent of the company's technology jobs are held by women. Similarly, approximately a third of Pinterest's interns are female and women represent more than 40 percent of its overall workforce.

The emphasis on women technology professionals in Pinterest's internship program isn't accidental, but signifies an intentional effort to bring even more women aboard the company's technology team.

"As we look ahead, we've put particular effort on inclusion efforts in hiring earlier in the engineering pipeline, recruiting a 29 percent female inaugural engineering intern class last year and 32 percent female this year," said Tracy Chou, a Pinterest engineer.

Embracing Gender Diversity

Pinterest's focus on gender diversity isn't surprising, since the company's user base is primarily female. But while many technology companies--including Twitter--have programs that support the education of women in STEM roles, few seem to have embraced gender diversity as a serious company goal.

"It's not an aptitude issue when it comes to gender and computer science," Reshma Saujani, CEO at Girls Who Code told Bizwomen.

Instead, the diversity gap in technology appears to parallel the female entrepreneurs versus male entrepreneurs division that has existed within the small business community. But while the business community has taken proactive steps toward becoming more inclusive, Silicon Valley appears to be stuck in a culture that tends to exclude both women and minorities in key technology roles (92% of Silicon Valley employees are either white or Asian, compared to 2% Latino and 1% black).

Going forward, it seems clear that Twitter and other technology companies will need to be more proactive about recruitment to close gaps in gender and minority hiring, and to more closely align its HR practices with other industries.

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