by Belinda Parmar
Originally published: February 27, 2017
These are the dark times for diversity: in an era of walls, barricades and divisive rhetoric, how can it can ever hope to thrive? But then maybe it was always doomed to failure. Even in happier, more inclusive times the drive for diversity has always had a decidedly chequered history.
Progress over recent years has been sluggish at best. Google’s data-driven diversity programme cost $2.65m but failed to significantly change the composition of its workforce. The organisation is as white and male as ever. Over the past two years, the number of women in technical positions has increased by just 1%; the number of African Americans has not increased at all. The announcement by Jeffrey Siminoff, Twitter’s head of diversity, that he will resign at the end of this month , spoke volumes about the perceived failures of the company’s diversity programmes. Google’s diversity chief, Nancy Lee, stepped down last year, indicating that the malaise may be becoming endemic.