On Thursday, The Verge released an info-graph that showed the racial diversity of online and social media companies. The lack of diversity in the technology industry is one that has been reported on extensively, so the numbers should not have been too alarming. However, one company seems to be severely lagging behind the others. Zero percent of Twitter’s employees are African American women.
It’s actually quite hard to imagine zero, like none? Thankfully, that isn’t the case. Twitter employs 14 African American women out of 3,000, but that number is not even a tenth of a percent of the company – zero percent. Once Black men are added to the equation, the total jumps to 49 and Twitter moves to a measly 1.7 percent African American.
When first reading the stat, my mind went directly to Black Twitter. A Pew Center Research study revealed African Americans use the platform disproportionately more than whites. So, it’s sad and frustrating to see our representation behind closed doors so meek.
Last month, Rev. Jesse Jackson stated African Americans are becoming “intolerant” of Silicon Valley companies that prosper off of our audience, but hire so little of our talent. This summer, many tech companies such as Pinterest introduced new initiatives to grow diversity on their teams and it’s about time Twitter takes theirs seriously.
Twitter announced a plan last year to create a company it could be “proud of,” but it’s clear the action behind the announcement is lagging. “We are committed to making inclusiveness a cornerstone of our culture,” said Jane Van Huyesse, Twitter’s vice-president of diversity and inclusion at the time.
Twitter makes a hefty profit by selling advertising to companies looking to reach an active Black audience, maybe it’s time they put that money where there mouth is. At zero percent, Twitter had the least amount of African American women on their workforce and Amazon boasted the highest with seven percent.
Silicon Valley still has a long way to go.