A new climate of change, hope and progress is now gripping Silicon Valley and the hi-tech industry. Inclusion and equal opportunity in the technology industry are the 21st-century civil rights imperatives. They are today's dynamic, disruptive change agents reshaping the culture and character of the hi-tech industry.
Technology is supposed to be about innovation, opportunity and inclusion, but, sadly, patterns of exclusion remain the order of the day. In fact, the tech industry is perhaps America's worst industry when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
Rainbow Push, the social justice organisation I founded, has brought this message to the industry through direct participation and speaking at the shareholder meetings of HP, eBay, Facebook and Google. What we've been saying is that Silicon Valley is America's valley: built through American R&D, American education, American tax credits and tax havens. It should reflect America's best values and principles.
We also focused on the hard data documenting the race and gender composition of the tech industry's workforce, challenging an industry that staunchly resisted efforts to reveal data about minority participation in the industry. In 2010 and 2013, major technology companies successfully went to court to prevent the release of such data.
Since Rainbow Push launched its digital connections initiative in March of this year, these same companies, including Google, Apple, Linkedin, Yahoo, Salesforce and Pandora, have now released it.
The facts don't lie: black people comprise just 1–2% of the tech workforce of most companies, Latinos just 2–4%. Women lag far behind men. But we've gone from resistance to release, creating an unprecedented climate of transparency. The industry is now facing up to the sobering facts on inclusion and diversity and moving to change them.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc