I recently posted about Dropbox’s hiring practices and how they put women at a disadvantage. But Dropbox is by no means a worst offender–they are actually one of the best companies in Silicon Valley. This is an industry-wide issue.
The problem is a hidden bias that tech executives are generally unaware of. They honestly believe they are a meritocracy but don’t understand how their words and actions can discourage others who are not like them.
The excuse that tech companies make for their lack of gender diversity is that the pipeline of women studying engineering is shrinking.
Sadly, this is a self-perpetuating cycle. Because there are few women in engineering, girls don’t perceive computing to be a friendly profession, so fewer are entering the field.
In larger companies, the diversity data that corporate executives usually look at are at the company level rather than at the departmental level and include lower-level administrative/support roles. If these data were analyzed at the departmental level, particularly in technology, executives would be shocked at what they saw. They would realize that the deck is stacked against women at every stage of the game.
This issue is important because the technology industry suffers from a severe shortage of talent. Diversity also fuels innovation. So, by leaving out women, we are excluding more than half of our potential talent pool and limiting our innovation capability.
Here are some things that companies—big and small—need to do.