Democrats chide Google, Facebook for ‘troubling’ lack of diversity

 

Major tech companies like Facebook, Yahoo and Google aren’t doing enough to add more women and minority workers to their rolls, three Northern California Democrats charged on Tuesday.

“It is painfully clear the sector faces a persistent and troubling deficit when it comes to women, African-Americans and Latinos,” Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) claimed in an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News.

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“Diversifying the tech workforce will not only boost the bottom line, but also provide African-American, Latino and female students with success stories in a field largely devoid of role models,” they wrote.

Some major Silicon Valley firms have begun disclosing statistics on diversity at their offices. By and large, the workplaces are overwhelmingly male, white and Asian.  

Google, for instance, is 70 percent male, 61 percent white and 30 percent Asian. African-American workers, meanwhile, make up just 2 percent of the Web giant.

The three Democratic lawmakers praised the companies for disclosing their diversity stats but said that was only the first step. 

“We'd like to commend these companies and others that have provided this data,” they wrote. “Are we satisfied with the picture it presents? Hardly.

“But as female members of a legislative body starkly unrepresentative of our nation, we know the first step in solving any challenge is recognizing there is one.”

The focus should now be on diversity at the firms’ highest tiers and recruitment techniques should better target women and minority workers, they said.

Congress needs to do its part, too, they added.

Not enough American students are taking advantage of math and engineering classes, and that’s especially true for Latino, African-American and female students. In 12 states, for instance, not a single African-American student took the Advanced Placement test for computer science.

Lawmakers in Washington can put a focus on that disparity and ensure that all students get equal access to opportunities that lead to top Silicon Valley jobs, the lawmakers offered.