Rachel, I appreciate the work you’re doing to fight for equality in the tech workforce. I’ve spent the last 15 years in tech and I see many of the same problems you call out in your article. I agree that blaming diversity on “the pipeline” does not excuse bias in hiring, retention, and creating the right kind of atmosphere. At the same time, when the high school AP computer science course last year is only 22% female and almost entirely white/asian, we clearly have a problem in our education system that also needs to be fixed.
I left a lucrative job in tech to run the engineering and marketing teams at Code.org to help millions of girls and under represented minorities have access to a tech education. Obviously Facebook and every other tech company has a major problem with diversity. As a female in tech, every team I’ve ever worked on and almost every company I’ve ever worked with also had this problem.
At the same time, it’s hurtful to read your note because we have an entire team of people working on bringing computer science opportunities to millions of kids — especially girls, African Americans and Latinx children — who would not otherwise have access. The education problem in CS isn’t the only problem with diversity in tech. But it’s a critical piece. You simply can’t have a truly balanced workforce without addressing the education pipeline. In your previous article, you called out the amazing work Harvey Mudd and Stanford have done over the last few years. Unfortunately, that’s still the exception. And, when we look at underrepresented minorities, the numbers are even worse.
Tech companies have many flaws, but if there’s one thing they don’t deserve criticism for, it’s helping organizations that are equalizing opportunity in America’s schools.