by Adva Biton
Originally published: March 17, 2017
In mid-February, tech giant Uber was thrust into national headlines after a former female engineer published her account of working at the company—complete with allegations of the horrifying (and casual) sexism and misogyny that eventually caused her to quit and seek employment elsewhere. Susan Fowler, the engineer in question, notes that Uber’s organization once had 25 percent female representation, which, on the day she left, had sagged all the way down to 3 percent.
It’s unpleasant to think about. It’s even more unpleasant to think about whether tech companies in our own state are fostering this kind of company culture. But avoiding topics of race and gender is shortsighted, especially in the business world—and even more so in the technology industry. A 2016 study on gender diversity from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that there “is a positive correlation between the presence of women in corporate leadership and performance” by a fair margin. Diversity of thought keeps an executive team from being a high-paid echo chamber, broadens a company’s vision, and keeps it innovative, fair and inclusive.
“There’s so many engineering teams and leadership teams that lack diversity; they lack the perspective and some of the better performance benefits that can come from a diverse team,” says Sara Jones, COO of Women Tech Council. “That’s why I care about it. I’ve had to run tech companies and organizations, and you see the diversity when it’s not the same thinking around the table … It’s a positive thing. It’s greater economic prosperity for everyone. Your company will be better. Your business will be better.”