Twitter Releases Diversity Report, Tells Same Story As Other Tech Companies
After some pressure from civil rights groups like Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and ColorofChange.org, along with the transparency of other Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google, Twitter has released its diversity numbers. And, no surprise, the company found that its staff is lacking in women and minority workers. Nearly 90 percent of Twitter’s workers are White or Asian. That same percentage occupy technology jobs. About 70 percent of the staff, overall, are White or Asian.
Seventy percent of the company’s staff are male. That percentage goes up to 90 percent when you look at just the tech workers, and 79 percent when you look at the company leadership.
“A Twitter that we can be proud of is diverse, and it’s inclusive,” writes Janet Van Huysse, VP of diversity and inclusion, in a blog post. She says there are a number of employee groups that will be helping with this task, including WomenEng, a women in engineering group, and Blackbird for “Tweeps of color.” Van Huysse says the company has also partnered with Girls Who Code and other groups, as well as lent its support to organizations like Black Girls Code in order to build outreach to diverse groups.
“We know the critical importance of actively recruiting from under-represented communities such as women’s colleges and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs),” the blog post also says.
ColorOfChange.org released a statement on behalf of its executive director, Rashad Robinson, in response to the report, that reads in part:
“Twitter benefits a great deal from the creativity, energy, and intelligence of Black folks engaging on the platform — both financially and in terms of popularity. Twitter’s blog post recognizes that there is a problem and states a commitment to fixing it. So we invite Twitter to work with ColorOfChange and our allies in hosting a public forum that addresses the company’s plan to recruit and retain more Black talent. We stand ready to help and hope that they will be a leader in this effort to make Silicon Valley a better representation of America.”
All of the big digital companies say that being diverse within their ranks is necessary to keep up with the diversity of users. Black Twitter in particular has become a force that drives the success of television shows like Scandal and has everyone talking about #TimeTitles based on this story from Time magazine, “This Is What Bae Means” based on the new song by Pharrell.
Now that Silicon Valley is aware of its deficiencies, the key will be sticking with what it takes to correct them. This isn’t going to be a quick fix. Turning around an entire industry culture, training workers to operate on the back end of these systems and sustaining that commitment will have to happen over time.