Tech Diversity and Inclusion Post-mortem
Ongoing, action items assigned, in progress
At halfway through 2017, we are approaching the 10 year anniversary of the first forays into focus on Diversity and Inclusion in the tech industry. The industry has spent over $500M on Diversity and Inclusion efforts with little to no improvements to show for it. Diversity numbers remain stagnant, we see little to no representation of URMs at the executive or board level, reports of harassment at various tech companies continue to trickle out, and VC money for women of color founders might as well be non-existent. For any project in business, that kind of spend with such low ROI indicates a major failure in the project. Because we are in tech, when we have a major failure, a post-mortem follows shortly thereafter.
Impact too great to be accurately quantified.
Cascading failure due to the following:
- reliance on pattern matching
Tracy Chou started tracking Women in engineering in 2013, with company diversity reports soon to follow. A pattern of poor results soon appeared.
What went well
- Implementation of monitoring of Diversity numbers quickly alerted us to a low presence of all intersections of URMs and Women.
What went wrong
- We have not defined what good outcomes look like.
- We have not created any methods of accountability.
- We're not measuring and reporting indicators of Inclusion like retention, promotions, and pay equity.
- We're not monitoring across all groups and intersections, to include age, veteran status, lgbtq status, and disability status.
- Too much reliance on Unconscious Bias training as a cure-all.
- Companies have not responded well to reports of harassment. (To date there have been no reports of apologies to any employees that have experienced harassment at companies.)
- We have not yet implemented safe methods for people to speak out that doesn't result in them being subjected to more harassment.
Where we got lucky
- Numbers have stayed flat instead of dropping for women, indicating that for some reason, people still want to come to the tech industry
- Despite lack of improvement, people still want to work on this.
- Many companies have avoided Uber style public tire fires, despite being equally problematic.
|Early 2008||Mike Swift from the San Jose Mercury news files FOIA requests for Labor Department demographic data for 15 companies. Lawyers for companies including Google, Apple, and Oracle fought the request citing "commercial harm." http://www.mercurynews.com/2010/02/11/five-silicon-valley-companies-fought-release-of-employment-data-and-won/|
|Nov 2011||CNN asks 20 Tech companies to release their EEO-1 reports. 3 agree. http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/17/technology/diversity-silicon-valley/index.html|
|May 2012||Ellen Pao files a gender discrimination lawsuit against her employer. She ultimately lost her case 3 years later, despite an outside investigation substantiating her claims. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pao_v._Kleiner_Perkins|
|Oct 2013||Tracy Chou asks "Where are the numbers?" and starts collecting data about representation of women in engineering https://medium.com/@triketora/where-are-the-numbers-cb997a57252|
|Mar 2014||Julie Ann Horvath is harassed out of GitHub http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Julie_Ann_Horvath_quit_GitHub|
|May 2014||Jesse Jackson and Rainbow PUSH begin pushing tech companies to release employee demographics http://fortune.com/2014/12/20/jesse-jackson-talks-diversity-in-silicon-valley/|
|May 2014||Google releases its first diversity report admitting it is not "where it wants to be" on diversity. https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/getting-to-work-on-diversity-at-google.html|
|Jun 2014||Facebook releases its first Diversity Report https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/06/building-a-more-diverse-facebook/|
|Jul 2014||eBay releases its first Diversity Report https://web.archive.org/web/20140801234333/http://blog.ebay.com/building-stronger-better-diverse-ebay/|
|Jul 2014||Twitter releases its first Diversity Report https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/a/2014/building-a-twitter-we-can-be-proud-of.html|
|Jul 2014||9 months after Engineer Tracy Chou asked "where are the numbers," Pinterest releases its first Diversity Report https://medium.com/@Pinterest_Engineering/diversity-and-inclusion-at-pinterest-8711ae9c8d29|
|Aug 2014||Apple releases its first Diversity Report https://www.apple.com/diversity/|
|Aug 2014||Pandora releases its first Diversity Report https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140820200555-62614725-diversity?published=t|
|Aug 2014||Indiegogo releases its first Diversity Report https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/08/diversity-matters-always.html|
|Sep 2014||Google implements and touts Unconscious Bias training as part of a solution to improving diversity. The rest of the tech industry follows suit. https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/09/you-dont-know-what-you-dont-know-how.html|
|Oct 2014||Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggests that women should not ask for raises, instead trust in karma. He later apologizes for this. http://readwrite.com/2014/10/09/nadella-women-dont-ask-for-raise/|
|Nov 2014||Amazon releases its first Diversity Report https://web.archive.org/web/20150319133426/http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=10080092011|
|Nov 2014||Then Googler Erica Baker writes about her experiences being a Black woman in the tech industry, noting specific experiences at Google. Google does not comment. https://medium.com/this-is-hard/the-other-side-of-diversity-1bb3de2f053e|
|Jan 2015||Microsoft releases its EEO-1 Report as a PDF download https://web.archive.org/web/20150105153901/http://www.microsoft.com/global/en-us/diversity/RenderingAssets/Microsoft_EEO-1_Report_2014.pdf|
|Mar 2015||Ex-Googler Kelly Ellis goes on record about being sexually harassed while employed at Google. Google does not comment. https://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/google-kelly-ellis|
|Jul 2015||Google Photos, echoing a well-worn racist and derogatory term, labels Black people "gorillas" (and Google issues the rare apology for doing so). https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/07/01/google-apologizes-after-photos-identify-black-people-as-gorillas/29567465/|
|Sep 2015||Marc Benioff publicly states at Dreamforce that their "major focus" right then, was "the women’s issue," meaning Salesforce was intentionally not focusing on all intersections of Diversity https://medium.com/this-is-hard/ffffff-diversity-1bd2b3421e8a|
|Jan 2016||Google releases its most recent Diversity Report, showing no improvement from its 2014 report, save a 1% increase in Women|
|Mar 2016||Amélie Lamont recounts her experiences of racism and sexism at Squarespace https://medium.com/@amelielamont/not-a-black-chair-8a8e7e2b9140|
|Dec 2016||ABI releases its first Diversity Report https://anitaborg.org/news/announcements/abi-2016-advancing-diversity/|
|Feb 2017||Susan Fowler recounts her experiences of harassment at Uber. https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber|
|Feb 2017||Uber begins an internal investigation into sexual harassment and discrimination led by US Attorney General, Eric Holder. http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/20/technology/uber-eric-holder-sexism-investigation/index.html|
|Mar 2017||Uber releases its first Diversity Report https://www.uber.com/diversity/|
|Jun 2017||Lyft releases its first Diversity Report. https://take.lyft.com/diversity/|
|Jun 2017||Square releases its first Diversity Report. https://squareup.com/news/diversity-report|
|Jun 2017||Uber releases the results of Eric Holder's investigation http://fortune.com/2017/06/13/uber-internal-investigation-results-public/|
|Jun 2017||Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns|
|Define good outcomes/goals.||prevent||Most Tech Companies||TODO|
|Track and report retention across demographics||monitor||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Track and report promotion rates across demographics||monitor||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Track and report company equity breakdowns across demographics||monitor||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Track and report pay equity across demographics||monitor||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Implement all suggestions from Uber's firm||prevent||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Move Diversity and Inclusion out of HR/PR/Finance/etc and into it's own org reporting directly to the CEO||mitigate||Most Tech Companies||IN PROGRESS|
|Implement Unconscious Bias, Ally Skills, and Racial Justice training and make all mandatory.||prevent||Most Tech Companies||IN PROGRESS|
|Define and make available to the entire company a playbook for responding to issues||mitigate||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Implement the recommendations in projectinclude.org||prevent||Most Startups||IN PROGRESS|
|Implement innovative recruiting practices instead of relying on overused "standards."||mitigate||All Tech Companies||TODO|
|Hire more URMs, especially into Executive and Board positions.||prevent||All Tech Companies||TODO|
This failure is still in progress.
- Ally Skills Workshop - Frame Shift Consulting, https://frameshiftconsulting.com/ally-skills-workshop/