March is National Women’s History Month and while the subject of #MeToo and Time’s Up have dominated many conversations in the business world, it’s also calling much-needed attention to pay equity, diversity in hiring and mentoring, and elevating women in the tech world. With these issues at the forefront, there’s much discussion about reinforcing STEM education and teaching girls to code, training the next generation of engineers, and developing a more diverse workforce.
Here’s how these tech companies are working to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“I think it comes down to a leadership commitment. At Facebook we’ve been working very hard—we publish our diversity numbers policy because we want to be held accountable....Every decision, whether you’re hiring somebody or asking somebody to speak on the main stage or speak at a panel, is a decision where you have the ability to influence that. And it just takes commitment and leadership.
It’s not just about the diverse approach to hiring people, it’s not just about the training, you also have to create supportive communities so that when [someone in a minority group] is in your company, whatever diverse group it is, they feel welcome, they feel heard, they feel respected, they can give feedback on how things are showing up for them, positive or negative." -Carolyn Everson, Facebook Global Marketing Solutions VP (at a panel at The International Consumer Electronics Show on what it's like being a woman in technology in 2018)
“We embrace diversity not just because we are a multinational company but because we have customers around the world, from different backgrounds and cultures. Therefore, we have to employ a diverse workforce that can deliver the best experience possible to that customer base. Women are a very important source of talent that we pursue, and we are being proactive by engaging with women in engineering groups in the San Francisco Bay Area to open up this talent pool. Specifically, we work with organizations like Women Who Code and Hackbright Academy by attending career fairs to promote careers at PlayStation Network. I’ve found the best way to motivate and encourage other women to work in this environment is to lead by example.” -Keira Schumake, Sr. Recruiter, Playstation
"We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to decisions and inventing on behalf of our customers. Our diverse perspectives come from many sources including gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, culture, education, as well as professional and life experience. We are working to develop leaders and shape future talent pools to help us meet the needs of our customers around the world—so this is a big investment for us.
We believe that diversity and inclusion are good for our business, but our commitment is based on something more fundamental than that. It's simply right. Amazon has always been, and always will be, committed to tolerance and diversity." -Charlie Kindel, Director, Smart Home for Amazon Alexa
"From a diversity perspective, 20 years ago, I sit here because people made decisions, they gave me stretch assignments, they gave me constructive criticism, they made sure that I was in roles that I could develop and counseled and mentored me, so that’s the environment in General Motors that I grew up in and lot of people are surprised when they hear that. But, this is something that we have to do every day because making sure that you have a diverse workforce and you’re growing all different categories of skills and of backgrounds and of thinking, it requires constant attention." -Mary Barra, General Motors CEO. GM is working with groups like Code.org and Black Girls Code that train students for jobs in computer engineering.
“We talk about diversity in Trello all the time, everyone knows that it is important and why it is important and why we support it. I’ve created a fellowship program with Flatiron School to kickstart women’s careers in code, and we’ve helped women in NYC to get full-time engineering jobs. We mentor them, we do interview prep, we open up our doors for a few weeks at a time. We (hosted the) Women of Color in Tech photo shoot – their initiative is … if you look for common stock images, you’re typically going to see a white male with a laptop, and so there was a push for common stock images of women in tech.” -Liz Hall, Trello, (Former) Vice President of People