Women in STEM
When Microsoft saw the percentage of women in their total workforce decline from 26.8% in 2015 to 25.8% in 2016 (mainly due to their exit from the handheld market), they decided to tie the executive bonuses to diversity goals. They have also introduced additional activities, e.g. specific manager training, high visibility on their agenda, focus groups and an extended internship program. Read more here.
Improving the diversity of their workforce (especially race and gender) is a huge issue for most tech companies and LinkedIn decided to change their campus recruiting approach in 2016 in order to attract a more diverse group of candidates. Traditional campus recruiting concentrates on specific Universities, that often struggle with diversity themselves.
CodeFight, a recruitment agency startup in the US, is offering a gamified coding platform to all applicants in order to test their skills and overcome unconscious bias in the recruitment process. While CodeFight is saying that female coders are winning half of the time, there are still worries though that such an approach is not really unbiased – the system is likely to have built-in biases, and the candidates might still be subjected to biases in the recruitment process. Read more here.
The popular toy-maker Fisher-Price just released a new holiday toy advert – featuring a girl with Down Syndrome. While parents with children with Down syndrome are not a big target group, Fisher-Price sees the value in producing such commercials – and it certainly drives the acceptance and inclusion of children with disabilities in our everyday lives.
The popular music-streaming service Pandora recently released their latest diversity numbers, and their gender numbers are impressive for a tech company – they are currently on 48% women (with 38% in leadership and 24% in tech roles – and 53% female interns). Pandora has now announced that they want to focus on employees of colour and go from currently 35% to 45% by 2020. Read more here.
Women in STEM
We have seen many times in the past years how important it is to have diverse developer teams in IT, especially when looking at machine learning, otherwise the results can be fatal (remembering the “gorilla” tag on the Google picture app or Microsoft’s racist and sexist chat bot). Google has now announced the hire of two senior AI researchers to head up the Machine Learning department, both of them women!
You might remember the article about Facebook I shared two weeks ago, revealing that Facebook allows its customers to exclude certain ethnicities when advertising rental properties. Facebook has now responded to the accusations and confirmed that they have disabled the ad system’s ethnic filters.
A very interesting Forbes article on driving diversity in corporates. Most companies struggle with a lack of buy-in from the senior executives and saying that it’s the right thing to do or showing the correlation between diversity and profit and trying to introduce quotas does not really result in an actual change. What they suggest instead is to use analytics and look at the actual performance in the company and the blend of the teams and define the strategy with the help of this data.
Yahoo just released their latest diversity report and while most numbers stayed flat, they lost women in leadership roles and dropped from 23% in 2015 to 21% in 2016. One of the reasons for this might be the turbulences Yahoo has been going through in the past year. Read more here.
According to a new study in UK, the pay gap for women in tech increases with their years of experience. While they ask for the same salary as men in entry jobs and usually get 7% less, they still ask for the same salary up to 6 years and get 10% less – but after 6 years they actually undervalue themselves and ask for less than men – and end up getting 31% less.
While a lot of companies have walked away from labelling toys for children according to their gender (for example Target who decided to get rid of gender specific aisles for toys last year), some retailers still limit certain items to a child’s gender. A UK politician now called out John Lewis for labelling a space themed lunchbox “for boys” and share this via the popular hashtag #LetToysBeToys.
Very important for the inclusion of people with disability is that the rest of the society understands what living with those disabilities actually means. These 11 Vloggers (video bloggers) are using YouTube to share their everyday experience – definitely worth watching!
Meetup, the company behind the popular social networking app with the same name, was founded in 2002 and until 3 years ago, the team consisted of mainly white men. Since then their CEO and founder, Scott Heiferman, has managed to transform his team, one step at a time. Very interesting read!
Race & Gender
According to a study from MIT, the popular ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft treat African Americans and women differently to how they treat white men. The researchers found out that riders with non-white sounding names were twice as likely to be cancelled than white ones – and women were taken on longer (and more expensive) trips. Read more here.
Inclusion & Tech
The one thing that is bringing inclusion forward is technology. Apple just launched their new accessibility website, showing how their assistive tech can help people – for example Sady. Sady is living with cerebral palsy and can not speak or use her body from her neck down, but thanks to assistive tech, she is able to work as a video editor! Read more here.
ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom, revealed last week that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude users by race when placing housing adverts. Facebook calls it “ethnic affinity” and say it’s very common to advertise to specific target groups only – but experts are very concerned about this, as it can clearly be used to discriminate certain racial or ethnical groups.