Friday, February 27, 2015

Diversity challenging not just tech companies but universities too

by Ethan Zuckerman and Chelsea Barabas
Originally Published: February 27th, 2015

Last week, MIT released a report that closely examines the state of diversity within the university.
The report considers MIT’s diversity not just in terms of students and faculty, but also looks at the Institute’s non-faculty research staff who represent approximately 28% of the institution as a whole.
Releasing the report was a brave move for the university. It provides a frank and realistic evaluation of where MIT stands in the heated debate concerning diversity and inclusion in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
As members of the MIT community who also research and advocate for diversity both within and beyond the ivory tower, we were interested in understanding how these developments ran in parallel with ongoing debates about diversity in other high-profile STEM spaces, such as the tech industry in Silicon Valley.
Given the rising concern and criticism surrounding the lack of diversity in the tech sector, how do prestigious and influential STEM establishments like MIT compare when we dig into the actual numbers?

The results

The effort was spearheaded by the newly formed office of MIT’s Institute and Community Equity Officer (ICEO), Ed Bertschinger.
Prior to taking on the role of ICEO, Professor Bertschinger served as the head of MIT’s Department of Physics, where he successfully established initiatives to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities who graduate from the department. This latest report is the result of extensive research Bertschinger and his team conducted during his first 18 months as ICEO.
Some of the news is very good – MIT has experienced great success in diversifying the undergraduate student body in terms of including women (45%) and underrepresented minorities (24%). (MIT uses the term under-represented minorities, shortened to URMs, to refer to US citizens or permanent residents who are Black, Native American, Hispanic or Latino, and two or more races including any of these.)
However, there has been less success in diversifying faculty and graduate student populations. Racial minorities in particular remain significantly underrepresented compared to their overall proportion of the US population. The most sobering statistics concern the percentage of URMs occupying positions as postdoctoral fellows (2%) and research staff (4%), positions that often serve as critical stepping stones to promising careers in both the private and public sectors.
It is difficult to compare MIT’s numbers to other universities. The MIT ecosystem is unusual in terms of the remarkably strong presence of non-faculty research staff on campus. Lincoln Laboratories, for example, a federally funded unit focused on national security, employs around 3,400 staff and scientists.
In light of this large population of professional researchers, tech companies like Apple and Google may provide as appropriate of a point of comparison as other research universities.

How does MIT compare to Google and Apple?

Bertschinger suggests this sort of comparison in his report, describing MIT as “in some respects a conglomerate of more than 1000 business units” which averages out to a remarkable one per faculty member.
Of course, MIT’s professors are focused on teaching and service as well as their research interests. This suggests that they should be held to higher standards on diversity and inclusion than for-profit businesses. For that reason, drawing comparisons to large tech companies is an interesting parallel to consider given the mounting pressure the latter have been coming under to demonstrate their commitment to greater diversity.
What the university report highlights, however, is that companies like Apple and Twitter are substantially outperforming MIT across these metrics.
This side-by-side comparison raises important questions about whether the conversation surrounding “diversity in tech” should be broadened to include elite research institutions like MIT, which often draw from and feed into the same talent pool used by top tech companies in the private sector.

Why the disparity?

The findings of the MIT report may be surprising to those who are familiar with the university’s long track record as a testing ground and advocate of affirmative action.
In fact, the institution’s active commitment to diversity over the decades has resulted in dramatic increases in the number of women and minorities admitted as undergraduates, graduates and faculty. A conscious decision was made in each of these areas to recognize the role that cognitive diversity, or diversity in the perspectives and tools we use to solve problems, played in maintaining MIT’s status as a world-class academic institution.
The areas where MIT struggles most with diversity are the ones where a centralized effort to diversify hasn’t taken place.
As Ethan personally knows from running the Center for Civic Media, most hiring decisions for non-faculty research positions tend to be made by individuals acting independently of a formal process or set of standards.
This independence is premised on the idea that principal investigators, often people at the very forefront of their fields, are best positioned to identify who is the “best of the best” for their teams. However, in such a system of individualized decision making, we run the risk of perpetuating a “mirror-tocracy,” rather than a pure meritocracy. This phrase was famously coined by the internet entrepreneur Mitch Kapor in order to describe our tendency to easily recognize and reward excellence in individuals who remind us most of ourselves.
It may be that MIT is suffering from some of the same problems faced by companies in tech - a narrow pool of applicants for competitive positions, a lack of mentors and diverse aspirational figures and a “bro-grammer culture” that is skewedtowards white males.
Indeed, given how dependent the tech economy is on highly skilled technical labor, it’s also worth considering how the demographics in academia impact the development of a diverse tech workforce more broadly.

Lessons from Silicon Valley

MIT and other elite research institutions can learn from the efforts currently being spearheaded by leading companies in the tech sector.
As a first step, many of these companies have begun to release more data about their employee demographics and make public commitments to improving these numbers.
Over the last year and a half Google has begun to provide training on implicit bias for its employees.
Implicit bias stems from the mental shortcuts we take in order to fill gaps in our knowledge about someone, or make sense of the complex world around us, by drawing from trends and patterns observed in our prior experiences.
One of the primary recommendations of the recent ICEO report is that MIT should provide implicit bias training for everyone in the MIT community, as such bias can affect every form of assessment and evaluation on campus,  including student reviews of faculty teaching. At the very minimum, MIT should require such training for anyone with hiring responsibilities in the Institute.
While it may not be possible, or desirable, to completely centralize the hiring of research staff and postdocs, it may be a good idea for MIT to regularly review such decisions in the aggregate. This would further assist in helping people to understand their own patterns and biases, and subsequently modify their behavior.
As members of the MIT community, we think that the Institute’s decision to release detailed information about its diversity is an admirable one.
We would like to call for other large research universities to similarly reflect on the biases and imbalances that may be reflected in their professional research staff population.
The more these conversations can be done in public, the faster we can get on the road to addressing the problem, which often stems from unconscious practices rather than overt discrimination.
As we’ve seen in the tech sector, such efforts are the first step in the long journey to creating organizations that are fundamentally more inclusive and diverse. These kinds of conversations are the first step to such meaningful change.




Read the original article from The Conversation here:
http://theconversation.com/diversity-challenging-not-just-tech-companies-but-universities-too-38108

What gender wage gap? D.C. is the best city for women in technology

by Amrita Jayakumar
Originally Published: February 25th, 2015

Patricia Arquette’s gender wage gap speech at the Oscars has ignited fresh debate about the right to equal pay for women.
In the male-dominated world of technology, that disparity is even more acute and some tech companies are taking steps to close the gap. But if you’re a woman deciding where to look for a job, geography can play a role in ensuring you’re paid as much as your male colleagues.
A new ranking by personal finance Web site SmartAsset tries to categorize the best cities for women in technology based on 2013 Census data.
Surprisingly, (or perhaps not), only one city in the top 15 is part of the West Coast. Leading the list is Washington D.C., in large part due to the federal government, the study said. In addition, there are two cities on the list that don’t even have a gender pay gap —  that’s right, women earn as much as men in those places —  one in the Midwest; the other in the South.
Before diving into the results, a few quick notes on methodology:
—  The jobs that were studied fall under ‘computer occupations,’ as defined by the Census. They include positions such as computer systems analysts, research scientists, software developers, and programmers.
—  The study’s analysts considered four factors to determine the rankings and assigned a weight to each of them, according to SmartAsset managing editor AJ Smith. They are: women as a percentage of the tech workforce (30 percent weight), the ratio of median earnings for women and men in the same occupation (30 percent), income after housing cost (20 percent) and three-year change in the number of women holding tech jobs in that region (20 percent).
—  Only cities with a tech workforce large enough to be considered statistically significant were considered. That means those with more than 200,000 residents, or 54 cities in total.
—  Median annual salary was considered in the data, which does not include stock options or other perks. That means the absolute salary numbers may not present the full picture of compensation.
Here’s the full list, and some highlights below:
Nation’s capital
So why did Washington lead the pack? The answer likely lies with the federal government’s hiring policies, according to the study.
“While all employers, whether private or public sector, are required to comply by Equal Employment Opportunity laws, the federal government places a special emphasis on making sure that its workforce reflects the population at large. That means more opportunities for women in tech in DC than in other cities, and a better environment overall,” the study said.
The percentage of women in Washington’s tech workforce is the highest of all cities at just over 37 percent, followed only by New Orleans at 36.5 percent. Job prospects are also bright — the share of women in tech jobs here grew by 49 percent between 2010 and 2013. 
There was no mention of D.C.’s blossoming start-up scene, although it is likely that this plays a part in the growth of tech sector jobs.
East Coast vs. West Coast
Fremont, Calif. was the only Bay Area city to feature on the list, which could mean that Silicon Valley may have the most tech jobs, but there’s still a large gap in the salaries that men and women in the region make.
On the East Coast, the City of Brotherly Love featured the smallest gender pay gap in the country. Men in Philadelphia’s tech sector make only 4.9 percent more on average than women do. 
Based on numbers alone, New York City had the largest amount of women in the tech industry. At nearly 20,000 women, that’s more than three times the number in San Jose and almost four times that in San Francisco, according to SmartAsset.
What gender pay gap?
Kansas City, Mo. and Arlington, Texas were the only two cities on the list where women in tech jobs do not make less than their male counterparts.
The Midwestern city has become a start-up hub in recent years, and companies such as Google have piloted projects in the region. Where Kansas City falls in the rankings is in its job growth prospects — women have made up a smaller share of the tech workforce in recent years. 
One of three Texas cities to be featured on the list, Arlington has the distinction of saying that women make 7 percent more than their male colleagues. Other Texas cities on the list include Houston and Plano, but not the most well-known, Austin, which is down at number 47.
Tucson, Ariz. 
Tucson has seen the biggest jump in the share of women joining the tech workforce between 2010 and 2013. Interestingly, the city also features the lowest median income of the top 15, at $37,030.
Tucson is home to Raytheon Missile Systems, the University of Arizona and Davis-Monthan Air Force base. The city has recently pushed to become more of a tech hub, and Apple’s plans to build a data facility out in Mesa could have ripple effects on those plans, according to local reports.



Read the original article from The Washington Post here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-business/wp/2015/02/25/what-gender-wage-gap-d-c-is-the-best-city-for-women-in-technology/

Celebrating LGBT History Month

by Nicky Morgan
Originally Published: February 27th, 2015

From Renaissance master Michelangelo to writer and historian Jan Morris to artist Frida Kahlo, the contribution of LGBT people not only to our society today, but to the strong history that shaped it, can't be understated.
And yet so many of these remarkable men and women have seen their lives shaped, not just by their achievements but also by the need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
This has deprived us all - but especially LGBT young people - of some incredible role models and a true appreciation of what the LGBT community has contributed to our society. 
That's why I was so pleased to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of LGBT History Month this February. As part of the celebrations I dropped in to visit the staff and pupils at Eastbourne Academy, a member of Stonewall's 'School Champions' programme. It was great to see, not only how they had marked the anniversary, but also their year round zero tolerance approach to homophobic bullying. 
This is fantastic to see, not just as Minister for Women and Equalities, but also as a parent. I want my son to grow up in a society where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is free to reach their full potential. 
I'm proud to say that we have made some truly momentous strides towards this in recent months. 
There have, of course, been the first marriages between same sex couples - 1,400 in the first three months and, more recently, we have seen the first couples converting their civil partnerships to marriages. 
As the Prime Minister said, these have been some of the proudest achievements of this government and something I'm sure we'll be celebrating as part of LGBT history in years to come.
And we celebrated another milestone just last month, with the 15th anniversary of lesbians, gays and bisexuals being able to serve openly in our Armed Forces. 
I attended a reception to mark this at the Ministry of Defence, which was awarded "most improved employer" in Stonewall's Top 100 employers last year. The Army and Navy also made it on to the list - a measure of just of far we have come. 
These are significant strides that are helping to ensure that the UK continues to be ranked number one in Europe for LGBT rights by the International Lesbian and Gay Association. 
This is a great honour and also a reminder that this commitment to equality cannot end at our shores. 
We know that there are countries where LGBT people still face harassment, violence and criminalisation and we are working to support them and engage constructively with other governments, drawing on our own experience in Britain and influential channels like the UN, EU and the Commonwealth. 
The support of organisations such as the Human Dignity Trust, Stonewall and Kaleidoscope and others has been invaluable in this endeavour and I'm hugely grateful to them. 
But this international focus certainly doesn't mean that we think the job's done here at home. 
Hate crime is still too prevalent and discrimination and prejudice are still too common in the lives of LGBT people. So there is still a lot of work to be done, especially with employers to ensure that LGBT people are free to be themselves in the workplace and in public life. 
Sport, in particular, is an area where we need to make more progress. That's why I'm pleased to support the Rainbow Laces campaign to tackle homophobia in football. 
But to really change attitudes, we have to go further back to school. 
This is when bullying, name-calling, the use of word "gay" as an insult, can, sadly, become an everyday part of life for many LGBT young people. 
And we know that this bullying can stay with them for life; affecting not just their happiness, attendance and achievement at school, but, ultimately, their prospects in life. 
Worst of all are the mental health implications, with more than half of LGBT young people reporting having self-harmed and being almost twice as likely to have thought about suicide as their peers.
But homophobic bullying doesn't just affect LGBT young people. It can affect anyone who is different from the so-called norm - the girl who likes sport, the boy who doesn't. 
This is totally unacceptable. We don't tolerate racist language and nor should we tolerate homophobia. 
I know that many schools and teachers are working incredibly hard to address all forms of bullying and to foster respect and understanding for others. I want to do all I can to support them in this, particularly as regards challenging homophobic bullying in age-appropriate ways. 
That's why we've introduced a £2 million fund to help schools prevent and combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. 
This fund builds on a project launched last year by my colleague Jo Swinson to identify the most effective approaches for tackling this bullying and we will shortly be announcing how it will be allocated. 
I'm confident that this important work will take us a step closer to a school system and a society where the Alan Turings and Frida Kahlos of the future are not just celebrated posthumously at the Oscars, but where we consign abuse and bigotry where they belong - into the history books.




Read the original article from Huffington Post here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/nicky-morgan/lgbt-history-month_b_6761186.html

There’s Room: Six Ways to Support a Diverse Work Culture

by Rachel Miller
Originally Published: February 26th, 2015

I’m an engineer at Asana, but I wasn’t always interested in this career path. I fought through a lot of myths to recognize that I could enjoy working in an industry filled with stereotypes so different from how I self-identify (female, queer). Not only did I not know that software engineering could be creative, compelling work, but I also didn’t recognize that there was room for someone like me.
There have been a lot of articles written about the lack of diversity in tech, and in our professional circles, it’s something we talk about regularly.

I didn’t know that software engineering could be creative, compelling work — and I didn’t recognize that there was room for someone like me.

But how can tech actually do better?
To start, we can do a better job conveying that we’ve got room. From conferences like this week’s Lesbians Who Tech Summit (which I’ll be attending), which help increase visibility in and participation from underrepresented communities, to looking inward at internal company dynamics, we need to do more than just say we’re interested in diversity.
We need to point out the range of ways technology jobs are interesting to people who wouldn’t otherwise consider them, and how we think a diverse workplace will actually outperform one that’s not. There’s a place in tech for different ethnicities, for women, for parents, for people of all ages, for those who don’t have a top CS-school degree, and for newcomers to CS.
But we’re going to have to do the work to make tech more accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds — we can’t just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk.

Why seek out diversity now?

Solving our collective lack of diversity is going to be an uphill battle: We have foundational problems ranging from education and our interview processes, all the way through the day-to-day management of our companies. Even more challenging is the fact that there are no perfect role models, companies that have paved the way and really figured out a long-term, effective solution to address all these complex issues. And even if there were models we could emulate, solutions would still be nuanced and tailored to the individual company.
Despite the difficulties we know we’ll face, there are reasons our diversity problem is worth solving now. At a high level, diversity can help a company — your company — thrive. Countless studies show that diverse groups actually perform better together; my current favorite shows that diverse groups are more creative.

Diversity isn’t only important for internal dynamics, it also allows a company to reflect the rest of the world.

Delivering software isn’t an assembly line — long-term success requires solving problems no companies have ever solved before. For that, we need people who are willing to teach, speak, recruit and collaborate with other teams. Employees with alternative backgrounds are more likely to introduce a range of skills and interests to the table, and bring excitement to grow with the company’s needs. Caring about diversity is a humble acknowledgement that, given the right support, many different backgrounds can succeed in tech. 
Diversity isn’t only important for internal dynamics, it also allows a company to reflect the rest of the world. An organization’s employees bring all their collective experiences to work. Together, they make up the company’s understanding of the world, and color its vision. Diverse groups of employees can have impact in ways that an insular tech community simply can’t. But to get a diverse group of people to join your company, you have to do the work, too.

Six ways to support a diverse culture

To signal support of diversity, organizations need to listen to and value different voices, and show they’re willing to change in response. Here’s what I think companies can do to support people who might be thinking, “this isn’t for me,” no matter how unconsciously.
Offer mentorship: Companies offering mentorship expand the definition of who can be successful. These companies can hire high-aptitude people without experience in tech, and let them learn on the job. For engineers, technical growth is the most obvious, but mentorship can also give the self-direction and confidence to pick up new organizational responsibilities and change processes. I recognize that I would not be working at Asana without the privilege of great mentorship from my parents, from professors in college and from my Asana team. 
Share the spectrum of what your company is excited about while recruiting:Consider sharing your tech stack, the motivation for your product, your company values and the kind of collaborative environment you have. You’ll end up speaking to people with all kinds of personal motivations; they’ll relate personally to your company’s goals and beliefs. I was drawn to Asana’s mission to help humanity thrive before I even realized how strong our engineering team was.
Make processes for feedback and reflection: It’s important to create an environment where you can share decisions and the decision-making processes, and ask for ongoing feedback. Having a diverse group of employees yields a diverse set of opinions; take advantage of this by showing there’s space to disagree, and that feedback can change the company. In the end, you’ll end up with a more open and creative culture.

Being invited to high-level planning meetings and reflections on culture, even as a very new employee, made me feel valued right away.

At Asana, our Roadmap Week meetings are open to all employees, regardless of function. Being invited to high-level planning meetings and reflections on culture, even as a very new employee, made me feel valued right away.
Emphasize quality of life: Trust employees to be thoughtful about how they’re going to do their best work over the long term. Be sure to make room for busy people, like parents whose schedules might need to be treated slightly differently. In fact, make room for anyone outside your (potential) monoculture. Employees with different hobbies and different friend groups are going to love this, too.
Let employees take responsibility for the things they care about: Give employees with talents and interests outside their primary role a chance to express them. At Asana, we use Areas of Responsibility to distribute responsibility modularly. Areas of Responsibility can vary greatly in scope — from product-managing a mobile launch to being responsible for ensuring that every new hire is welcomed with a coffee date.
Offer multiple definitions of success: All teams and positions are important to your company — make sure that people feel valued regardless of their tenure, role or seniority level. At Asana, managers and individual contributors are seen as two different paths to success, neither of which is “better” than the other.

Envisioning the future

There has been a lot of talk in our industry about the need to create a more diverse culture, and we can start today. We need to convey that tech is inclusive, and actually do the work to make it even more so. Changing how our companies operate is some of the most important work we can be doing right now: It’s what is going to allow us to build all the change we want to see in the world.





Read the original article from ReCode here:
http://recode.net/2015/02/26/theres-room-six-ways-to-support-a-diverse-culture/

Studios Need to Address Diversity in a Changing World

by Martha Lauzen
Originally Published: February 26th, 2015

Criticizing Hollywood, its products and players is hardly new. Since the industry’s inception, cultural watchdogs, pundits and movie-goers have hurled disparaging potshots and voiced more legitimate concerns.
In the early years of the past century, members of various religious groups and politicians clamored over the racy content of pre-code Hollywood’s films, urging the business to clean up its act. The social outrage inspired a patchwork of state regulations, and threatened federal legislation at a particularly ticklish moment in film history when the studios were becoming increasingly dependent on financiers to expand and develop the industry.
In a move that had no precedent at the time, and has yet to be repeated, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America created the Production Code Administration to oversee the implementation of guidelines intended to rein in the various perceived excesses of movie content. This act of self-regulation quieted the movement against the fledgling industry and ushered in decades of prosperity.
Fast-forward almost 100 years, and Hollywood finds itself standing on another precipice facing down a similarly disgruntled grassroots movement. This time, the challenge comes not from representatives of religious organizations and politicians, but from members of culturally under-represented social groups such as women and minorities. Armed with abundant channels to communicate their message, including social media and websites, members of these groups, as well as individuals supporting the cause, have raised public awareness of the lack of diversity in Hollywood, and are intent on keeping the issue in the public spotlight until progress is made.
To date, the mainstream film industry has demonstrated little inclination to meaningfully address the complaints of those calling for greater diversity behind the scenes. From its relative indifference to the investigations conducted by the Dept. of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 1970s to the failed lawsuit filed by the Directors Guild of America in the 1980s charging the major film studios, television networks and independent TV production companies with sex discrimination, the industry has evaded calls for greater equality.
In part, the cultural zeitgeist was in Hollywood’s favor. But diversity was not the juggernaut in those days that it is today. In television, some of this season’s most successful shows — “Empire,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish” — feature diverse casts, and star or co-star women. Further, the explosion of social media and the Internet has solidified the notion that culture belongs to everyone, not just the demographically privileged. It is a clash between a Culture “R” Us popular movement and an entrenched megamedia system inclined to perpetuate the status quo.
A variety of grassroots organizations is also calling for greater visibility for their members onscreen. The studios have largely responded that their hands are tied by the imperatives of an international marketplace that does not favor films featuring female faces or faces of color.
This objection should be recognized as the self-fulfilling prophecy it is. Hollywood doesn’t just respond to market forces. Rather, it creates demand for its movies by spending millions of dollars on advertising and promotion domestically and globally. Not much is “natural” about these markets. Just as the industry plays a role in creating markets here in the U.S., it also has a hand in molding audience preferences internationally.
The notion that little can be done about the current dearth of diversity in the mainstream film industry reveals a startling lack of vision on the part of executives, who have yet to recognize the potential creative and box office bounty a more diverse film world would yield.
Martha M. Lauzen, PhD, is executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. She is the author of numerous studies on
women working on screen and behind the scenes in film and television.



Read the original article from Variety here:
http://variety.com/2015/voices/opinion/studios-need-to-address-diversity-in-a-changing-world-1201441701/

Facebook adds new gender option for users: fill in the blank

Originally Published: February 26th, 2015

Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.
"Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own," said a Facebook announcement published online Thursday morning and shared in advance with The Associated Press.
'People are still fighting to make room for gender identity within the socially constructed binary of male and female.'— Alison C.K. Fogarty, gender identity researcher at Stanford University
Facebook software engineer Ari Chivukula, who identifies as transgender and was part of the team that made the free-form option, thinks the change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don't identify themselves as a man or woman.
Alison C.K. Fogarty, a gender identity researcher at Stanford University, said giving users control over the words describing their gender is a significant step in social recognition of a growing trans community, especially coming from the world's largest social media company.
"People are still fighting to make room for gender identity within the socially constructed binary of male and female," Fogarty said.
In February 2014, Facebook expanded gender identity from male and female to a list of dozens of options, including Androgyne, Gender Fluid, Intersex, Neither and Transgender. Those choices will all still be available.
People who choose a custom gender can also choose the pronoun they would like to be referred to publicly: he/his, she/her or they/their.
Facebook has a setting for users to control the audience who sees their gender.
Last year's changes created an online stir, with thousands of comments — some grateful, others confused or hostile. But staff at Facebook said there was full support to take it even further this year, from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on down.
As of Thursday, the free-form option rolled out to U.S. users, while the custom gender identity option with a list of words was available in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Argentina and Denmark.
One thing that has not changed is an "interested in" option for Facebook users to define whom they might want to date. That option still only allows men or women, but users can click both options, one option or neither option. They can also hide it entirely.
Facebook, which has 1.23 billion active monthly users around the world, would not release how many users have chosen gender identity options beyond man or woman, citing privacy concerns and a general practice of not sharing user information.




Read the original article from CBC News here:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/facebook-adds-new-gender-option-for-users-fill-in-the-blank-1.2974615

There Are Fewer Women On Corporate Boards Then There are Men Named John, Robert, William or James

by Victoria McNally
Originally Published: February 26th, 2015

You know you have a problem with gender diversity when you can start dividing your number of men by their names and there’s still more of them than there are women of any name.
A new report on diversity by Ernst & Young Global Limited looked at gender in the board rooms of major S&P 1500 companies across the United States. Obviously you don’t need a study to tell you that the results were going to be overwhelmingly skewed towards male board members, but that didn’t prepare us for this nugget of information: at there are more men named John, James, William, and Robert who hold board seats than there are women combined. Not by much, granted, but it really drives the point home, doesn’t it?
Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.31.01 PM
Fortunately things are changing—women make up 23% of new board members in 2014 compared to 18% in 2013 (though it’s worth noting that this has not been a consistent increase over the years), and companies with larger boards—more than 12 members—usually have at least one woman on them. But considering that most boards only hire more women when they’re expanding and not to replace lost members, and the amount of women on boards has only increased 5% over the past decade (16% in 2014 compared to 11% in 2006), we still have a long way to go.
“The pace of change is absolutely glacial,” Karyn Twaronite, the firm’s global diversity and inclusion officer, told The Washington Post. “The idea that we can essentially pick out four common men’s names, at random, and find this shows there’s a long way to go.”
Some more fun facts from Ernst & Young’s findings: almost half of all board seats are held by members with 10 years tenure or longer, and 88% of those members are men; companies that have an overwhelming majority of men in their boardroom are much more likely to remain stagnant and not take in or lose any members from year to year; and companies that are led by women are much more likely to have more women in non-CEO executive positions.




Read the original article from The Mary Sue here:
http://www.themarysue.com/not-enough-women-board-members/

Hollywood's Lack of Diversity Looks a Lot Like Silicon Valley's

by Zoe Henry
Originally Published: February 26th, 2015

There's a problematic discrepancy between what viewers want and what Hollywood gives them.  
According to the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report, which analyzed TV ratings and box office revenue between 2012 and 2013, American audiences tend to prefer movies and TV shows with more diverse casts. The film industry's racial and gender composition is nowhere near representative of the nation as a whole, as The Hollywood Reporter noted.
In a snapshot that looks an awful lot like Silicon Valley's tech sector, the Hollywood Diversity Report found that minorities in film lagged by more than 2-to-1 in lead roles and by 2-to-1 as directors, with women lagging by 2-to-1 as leads and by an overwhelming 8-to-1 as directors. TV was even worse: Minorities in leading roles on broadcast shows lagged by 6-to-1, while women lagged by more than 50 percent. 
Although the report's co-authors, Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon, admitted that they did not analyze data from 2014-2015, Hollywood hasn't fared much better in recent months, at the least in terms of diversity recognition in film. Look no farther than the overwhelmingly white and male Oscars ballot this year, prompting the Twitter backlash #OscarsSoWhite in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony. (Director Ava DuVernay was notably snubbed for Selmawhich was the first ever feature-length film made about Dr. Martin Luther King. And David Oyelowo, who played King in the movie, was also conspicuously absent from the list of Best Actor nominees.)
So what gives? It's not a lack of consumer demand for diversity. In fact, the study found that broadcast TV casts with 41 to 50 percent minority actors scored the highest ratings in both black and white households. Rather, the issue stems from the agencies, guilds, studios, and networks that do the hiring, according to the report's authors, which they described as "an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women." 
Sound familiar? EBay, the most gender-diverse tech company based in Silicon Valley, is composed of 76 percent male workers globally. And in the world of entrepreneurship, only 4.2 percent of women founders receive venture capital, according to the Center for Talent Innovation. On top of that, just 15 percent of minority-owned firms received VC funding in 2013, compared to 22 percent of businesses overall, Forbes.com reported. Hurdles for women in business aren't just financial, either: Sexism in tech is alive and well, if these boneheaded comments are any indication.  
The reason executive suites hire so few women and minorities may have to do with the fact that "people have a better eye for talent when it looks like them and has the same background as them," as Time Warner's executive director of diversity and corporate social responsibility told The Hollywood ReporterAnd while those recruiting efforts may not be malicious, they do tend to make matters worse (and less diverse). Silicon Valley tech companies reflect a similar tunnel vision when they recruit from the same brand-name schools and startup circles again and again.
When will California's darlings finally make greater strides in hiring casts of characters that finally reflect reality? Not soon enough.




Read the original article from Inc. here:
http://www.inc.com/zoe-henry/hollywood-s-lack-of-diversity-looks-a-lot-like-silicon-valley-s.html