Diversity In Tech • A Mirror to the Film Industry

If over 50% of top jobs and leadership positions are white and male...that's a problem...and it's an ongoing problem in the tech and film industries. You'd think for two industries at times completely at odds with one another they wouldn't necessarily mirror each other and yet here we are, two industries that are comprised of many (not all before the pitchforks come out but many) bigots who are also extraordinarily sexist.

The report released by UCLA in February of 2014 wasn't something to gloss over, it was substantially pathetic and will likely continue along such a trend. One doesn't have to look further than Chris Rock's essay on the film industry in general. There are many that may suggest race has nothing to do with the overwhelming discrepancy of representation in the tech industry but that group of "many" don't seem to add in an inherent bias employers and venture capitalists have when financing the next start-up, in fact 83% of start-ups receiving seed and Series A funding are white. 

The graphs below developed by GigaOM highlight the statistics released in 2014 from many of the top tech companies who's products are used by many that look nothing like the majority of their executive leadership. When individuals in these companies suggest they have a hard time with diversity outreach and finding those from varying backgrounds it becomes laughable, you can't really have a hard time doing something that you're not actively attempting to do.

Education and people of color not taking part in math and science in school will be the popular topic of discussion as it has been but that boils down to politics. Consider how many schools are being closed in impoverished communities, it's a little difficult obtaining any form of education in certain subjects when certain institutions are removed by political leaders who receive campaign financing from some of these same tech firms, but this isn't a place I wish to discuss politics at all as it's a vapid and endless rabbit hole.

Similar to what can be seen in the film industry there are those that are doing what they can to turn the tide like Dominic Liddell from Chicago, IL behind Coding While Black and a recent piece outlining the challenges and reason behind starting such a community and Kimberly Bryant the founder of Black Girls Code showcasing to the tech industry at large that, yes there are girls of color who enjoy tech as much as their counterparts.

There's much left to say that will be addressed in a later piece, considering the multitude of independent films being told and starring people of color that something with a similar approach to this may need to occur in tech but again, that will be described in detail later. Overall very little progress has been made if we can truly call it "progress" considering the contributions that have been made by women and people of color in the tech industry through history. It's a little difficult to be disruptive of other industries when you mirror them in so many ways.