Silicon Valley women join forces to promote diversity in tech

Silicon Valley women join forces to promote diversity in tech
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A group of prominent women in Silicon Valley on Tuesday launched a new initiative to guide tech startups in addressing diversity issues. 

“For those CEOs who care about these issues but are overwhelmed by the choices, we want to provide our perspectives, recommendations, materials, and tools to help CEOs and their teams build a concrete strategy, framework, and plan with specific actions,” Project Include says on its website

The group, which targets the leaders of startups and slightly more mature tech firms, recommends creating an inclusive corporate culture that measures progress. It is also offering tips for venture capital firms that fund many startups.

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The group cautions, however, that there “is no silver bullet to fix these problems or standard checklist for you to follow.”

The group is looking to have 18 startups, according to The New York Times, that will commit to tracking diversity and meet regularly will other members of the program.

The group was founded by Ellen Pao, the former Reddit executive who unsuccessfully sued a major venture capital firm alleging gender discrimination, among others. Erica Joy Baker, an engineer at messaging company Slack who is a prominent voice on diversity issues in tech, also helped to create the project.

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Six other women from various corners of the tech world are also listed as founders of Project Include.

Diversity problems have long-plagued Silicon Valley. Sixty percent of Google’s workforce is white, Facebook’s is 55 percent white and Apple’s U.S. workforce is 53 percent white. Black and Hispanic employees are represented in the single digits.

That hasn’t gone unnoticed in Washington. The Congressional Black Caucus began an effort last year to talk to companies about the opportunities for hiring more black employees. The White House has also been working on the issue.

The people behind Project Include make it clear that long-term efforts are needed to address diversity in tech.

“Today’s solutions are limited; the one-off initiative approach simply cannot achieve systemic change and in many cases does harm,” the group says. “Diversity takes multiple, sustained efforts, a comprehensive approach, and a long-term commitment.”