Did this article intentionally exclude black men? At every turn I was reminded that there were no black women present, but given the context wouldn’t a black man speaker be a welcome sign at a diversity conference? I got the impression that a panel of half white women and half black men would rate a total fail.
For worse or worser, whites and blacks have different backgrounds (schools, home life, etc.) but boys and girls grow up much closer to parity. It makes gender equality a much more tractable problem. We can all agree that it’s a problem that only “rich kids” go into tech, but it’s not obvious how to solve that. Rich boys and rich girls exist in equal numbers, however. It’s clearly a cultural problem, not an economic one.
Grace Hopper is a conference explicitly for and about women in tech. So, yes, I’m quite certain the author (a well-known advocate who’s had all these conversations before) knew that question would come up but chose not to address it in this particular article.
I’m not really sure what in the article you intend item 2 to be a response to. The connection between economics and race is real but in many ways a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s very much a mistake to talk about either without the other. Did something in this piece come off as saying “pour money into it, that’s all we need to do”?
Oh, hmm, I think I misread something, because I thought there was a complaint about a more general “Diversity Summit”, but going back all the examples were specifically women’s events except for a brief mention of Black History Month in the opening paragraph. So now I’m a little confused as to whether the problem is no black women at women’s events, or a lack of more general diversity events. I think the latter, but it uses the first as the example? Is a Women’s Leadership Summit expected to have more/less/same percentage of people of color as the workforce in general? (And what ratio does it have?)
In short, I’m not sure if the point is that color diversity among women is worse than among men, or if it just wasn’t what this article was about.
As for point 2,
At this point, Marc and Parker could have stated their commitment to advancing diversity on all fronts within their company. Instead they doubled down on their focus on women.
The article is saying it’s wrong for companies to focus efforts on women, no? My point is that this is an easy choice for companies to make, because they have more complete control over the factors that prevent women from working in tech. For instance, every year there are actually more women graduating from college then men, but blacks are grossly under represented. I think if you are the hiring honcho, hiring more women is as “easy” as hiring more women. But you have far less control over who goes to college and graduates.
I think her intended audience is primarily women - who are, after all, much more likely to act on ideas about diversity. I see the choice of examples as being because of the audience choice, not a part of the point.
I don’t have data to answer the question about the number of women of color at these events compared to in the workplace, but one of her big points is an assertion that it’s far lower even than the already low ratio. Even from the few local events like this I’ve been to, I’m inclined to agree.
Oh. I understand your point now. I suppose I shouldn’t pontificate about an issue that isn’t mine, but the oracle did find me this government report saying that, as of the last survey, 10% of bachelor’s graduates are black. That’s a small percentage but not an impossible one. I can’t find data on what percentage go on to STEM careers.
There’s an ongoing discussion with regard to women in STEM in general… A lot of existing efforts focus on “pipeline problems”, meaning how to interest young women in these fields, and help them get education and start careers. That’s great, but there are a lot of factors that disproportionately cause women to abandon STEM careers after a year or two. Both are clearly very important, and neither will be a lasting solution without the other.
Translating that as best I can to the racial issues that I fully admit I don’t understand, and wouldn’t be talking about if anyone else here were… Focusing on retention can be done in the short term, and would very much be helpful to people of color. Pipeline issues take longer, yes, but there certainly are existing efforts; they aren’t unreasonable to ask for.
It’s interesting seeing the intersectionality critiques being brought up.
It’s also interesting seeing that the response to (seemingly) “We aren’t being represented here” is self-segregation out of those places. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that.