31 Aug Spotlight on Women and Minorities in Tech: Pinterest Stands Up!
n August 4, The White House held a Demo Day to “showcase the wide-ranging talents of innovators from across the country” and highlight an issue you might have read quite a bit about over the past month – diversity in the tech industry.
The event, which featured both women and minority founders within technology, caused a movement. That same day, members of the Congressional Black Caucus confronted companies in Silicon Valley (Apple, Google, Pandora, SAP, etc.) to encourage the hiring of more African American employees (read more here). Major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft announced their own plans to diversify. And colleges and universities pledged to “create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and to invest in innovative placement programs to connect diverse workers including women, minorities, Veterans, and at risk and disconnected young adults with entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs.”
All of this was outstanding! However, coming from a women-run tech PR agency, I couldn’t help but notice there was one social media platform that made an early and more in-depth pledge that really piqued my attention: Pinterest.
What I found incredibly interesting is that for a company with 85% of its 72.8 million users being female, it wasn’t already leaking female employees from its faucets – a fact that the company intends to change. According to USA Today, Pinterest is making a bold stand, and putting it all on the table to help keep the organization publicly accountable to achieving its new diversity goals.
Here’s the download: Pinterest is setting out to hire more women and minorities (like many of the other companies noted above), but will also:
- Open an experimental lab to test new strategies to accomplish this hiring goal
- Set specific and measureable goals
- Share what works and what doesn’t with the industry so everyone can learn from their mistakes and successes
- Achieve all of this by 2016 (aggressive!!)
Bravo Pinterst. I like your style…and your platform. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against men. But there seems to be no reason to me why women aren’t more prevalent in these positions. Maybe it’s due to stats like this one from a recent Huffington Post article:
“According to the National Center for Female Women in Information Technology’s April 2015 survey, the U.S. computer science sector will have 1.2 million openings by 2022. Women currently represent just 26% of the computer workforce and the numbers are even more dismal for women of color.”
That is why I love what Pinterst is doing so much. The first step to solving the diversity gap is letting women and minorities in on the facts; the next step is educating them on how to make them theirs.
For example, organizations are popping up everywhere to give women the opportunity to qualify for one of these “tech” positions. What Pinterest is doing will hopefully shed some light on the real issues of diversity hiring in tech – are no women applying? If that’s the case, why aren’t they applying? Are they not qualified? Do they feel intimidated? What’s the deal and how can they overcome it?
As a resident of the DC/MD/VA metro area, I’m proud to say there are quite a few options for women to get involved in tech and figure out if it’s a field you’d be interested in pursuing. And, the good news is that it’s not even too late to learn tech, if you might be, well, my age.
Check out the following resources – many of which are free – to learn more about women in technology:
- Hear Me Code: http://hearmecode.com/
- Women Who Code: http://www.meetup.com/Women-Who-Code-DC/
- Women in Technology: http://www.womenintechnology.org/
- DC Web Women: http://dcwebwomen.org/
- Khan Academy (online): https://www.khanacademy.org/
- Codecademy: https://www.codecademy.com/
And keep an eye out for more women and minorities to start penetrating the tech industry, now that the issue is being brought to the forefront by companies like Pinterest.