Originally published: March 3, 2017
Last month, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler described a corporate culture that, to put it mildly, was insensitive to women’s concerns. According to her, during the time that she worked at Uber, the share of women in her engineering organization fell from roughly 25 to six percent. While Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has countered this with a claim that, overall, women hold 15 percent of the technical roles at Uber and has ordered a high-powered “independent review,” this incident points to a diversity problem in the high-tech industry that goes well beyond this one company.
We’ve heard it time and time again: “We need more women in tech. We need more minority engineers, female software developers and women sitting in executive positions.” Yet we keep seeing the same statistics coming back to haunt us. According to Statistics Canada, women comprise 56.3 percent of total postsecondary enrolment, and have surpassed their male counterparts in terms of graduation rates. However, women still make up only a quarter of the tech industry workforce, and only 4.4 percent of CEO positions in business are held by women.