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Facebook Has a Diversity Problem


A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in Zenica,   in this photo illustration

For a company which boasts almost 1.5 billion users and that has penetrated just about every market in the world, you might think that Facebook would have a diverse work force. But according to a demographic study conducted by the company itself, Facebook’s employees are overwhelmingly male and white.

In America, 55% of all Facebook employees are white and 73% of its senior leadership is white. Around the world, 68% of all of Facebook’s employees are men and 84% of its tech employees are men.

In a blog post, the company said that it is working to change this. Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Director of Diversity, said, “Diversity is central to Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world: it’s good for our products and for our business. Cognitive diversity, or diversity of thought, matters because we are building a platform that currently serves 1.4 billion people around the world. It’s vital for us to have a broad range of perspectives, including people of different genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, characteristics and points of view. Having a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do for our business.”

As part of its efforts to change the situation, Facebook says that it is reaching out to minority and women college students with pilot programs to try and bring more of them into its work force. It has also launched the Computer Science & Engineering Lean In Circles in partnership with LeanIn.Org, LinkedIn, and The Anita Borg Institute to bring together small groups of women in colleges so that they can have support groups. The company hopes that this will encourage more women to pursue careers in high tech.

But Facebook should not be blamed for a lack of women tech employees. Much has been said in recent years of a lack of women who go into the fields of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This is something that goes back to even before a woman’s college years. At least Facebook is actively trying to get more women to come to work for the company instead of just accepting tit as a fact that fewer women work as programmers.

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