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Recruiting Trends

Diversity Data and Women of Color
By Lango Deen
Jul 11, 2014, 18:51

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Nothing was timelier this week than the Huff Post commentary “Diversity Data Shows Need to Focus on Women of Color”—a wrap-up of the dismal data from Google, LinkedIn Yahoo, and Facebook in recent weeks.

While Huff Post contributors: Allison Scott, director of Research and Evaluation at the Level Playing Field Institute, and Alexis Martin a senior research associate also at LPFI, applauded all of the tech companies that have come forward with their workplace diversity data; they didn’t shy away from giving Silicon Valley a good research talk. They are in pole position to do so. Level Playing Field Institute is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in STEM and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of America.

Last August, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation honored the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) with a STEM Innovation Award in recognition of its pioneering people and programs in science, technology, engineering and/or math education.

Also last fall, LPFI was awarded a grant of $528,161 from the National Science Foundation Computing Education for the 21st Century program to increase access to and success in computer science education for underrepresented youth of color. The project for underrepresented high school students will be implemented over the next three years.

In Friday’s commentary, Scott and Martin said to improve diversity and representation within these tech companies specifically, and within the tech industry in general, the flood of data must be further examined and disaggregated by both race and gender, paying particular attention to the intersection of race and gender.

In addition, they said, investments and strategies to improve preparation and participation in computer science must incorporate a clear focus on unique challenges faced by women of color—African American, Latino, and Native American—professionals in computing and technology fields. “We must not allow this important demographic and its talents to sink to the bottom of the conversation,” they urged.

Click here for more data broken down by race and gender, the "double-bind" of women of color with marginalized and negatively stereotyped identities, and why a one-size-fits-all approach for engaging women will not address nuanced experiences of women of color in the field of technology.
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