I’m Silicon Valley And I Have A Problem

By Nancy Dahlberg
The Miami Herald

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The diversity issue in Silicon Valley took center stage at the SXSW Interactive Festival, in keynote speeches, panels, workshops and networkers. This comes several years after the embarrassing numbers that showed few women and minorities worked at Silicon Valley’s elite tech companies were brought to the forefront. So what is the answer to empowering women in tech? Some say solutions include more mentoring and sponsor programs for promising women and minorities.

The Miami Herald

Turns out the Elephant in the Valley was also the elephant in the room at the massive South by Southwest Festival this past week.

President Obama talked about it; so did his chief technology officer. Tech pioneers Steve and Jean Case discussed it, as did Pinterest and Twilio engineers, executives at Facebook and Yelp, several venture capitalists and the CEO of Vox Media.

The diversity issue in Silicon Valley took center stage at the SXSW Interactive Festival, in keynote speeches, panels, workshops and networkers. This comes several years after the embarrassing numbers that showed few women and minorities worked at Silicon Valley’s elite tech companies were brought to the forefront. One keynote session was even titled: Why we are still talking about it.

Why? Because the numbers are still going in the wrong direction, said Tracy Cho, a software engineer at Pinterest. She was one of the people who raised the issue, penning a post on Medium in 2013 titled, “Where are the numbers?” Lack of diversity affects business results both through poorer products and lackluster shareholder returns, Cho said, citing research.

Her call to action and those of others helped spur employment reporting by Facebook, Google, Apple, Intel, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley companies but she said two years later the numbers really hadn’t budged. “In hindsight, hoping the numbers would improve themselves was not a plan,” Cho said.

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