Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Autumn Darling (White Station High School)
Diversity in the tech industry is no new problem. Anyone who is not a white male entering the world of technology is faced with staggering statistics against them. According to the Huffington Post, at
Google the percent of women in tech positions is only 17 percent, Facebook is even lower at 15 percent, and Twitter reported a distressing 10 percent. On top of that, African American men and women make up only four percent of employed software developers. While these statistics are often similar in other fields as well, in the tech industry this is increasingly worrying.
Technology is a major part of our everyday lives and is rapidly becoming more accessible to different groups of ethnicity, gender, and income. With this in mind, why are these products, aimed to minorities, not being designed by people who can relate to their needs? A lack of diversity has a larger effect than a bad reputation for a company, it can lead to major issues with their products.
Apple faced this very problem with the release of their new Apple Watch. Although 14.1 percent of Americans are African American, and 20 percent reported having a tattoo, users reported that having tattooed or even dark skin, caused the watch to have difficulty correctly measuring their heart rate. Mistakes like these bring into light the issues minorities face in America.
Yet, despite this, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said in an interview with website Mashable that “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that.” All while only employing \women as 30 percent of their tech workers, and African Americans as six percent.
In the nation’s fortune 500 companies, 24 of them have a female CEO, less than five percent, according to CNN Money. Even worse, only five of the 500 companies have an African American CEO, our of those being male. Young women and African Americans growing up today have a serious lack of role models to look up to in positions of power. That is only amplified when they look to the technology industry. Looking at companies, the higher you rise power wise, the less you see representation of minorities in America, and more of white men. However many companies are working to improve these disproportional statistics. By hiring more women, people of color, and LGBT+ employees, companies are improving their products for all of their customers.