The lack of diversity in the workfield is a matter we have been dealing with in American society for quite some time now. In the science and computer technology field, diversity is hardly there when it comes to jobs in engineering or tech companies. Jobs in these fields are harder for women and minorities such as Blacks and Latinos. According to Bloomberg’s, Ellen Huet, in 2013, Tracy Chou, a Pinterest software engineer, challenged tech companies to tell the world what percentage of engineers in their company were women. Google, Apple, and Facebook, as well as other companies, published their gender statistics (Huet).
Pinterest claimed that it was a company who was working hard to hire more women, Black and Latino workers. In 2015, Pinterest set a goal to make 30% of their engineer’s women, 16 months later, only 22% of it is new engineers were women (Huet). From 2015-2016 the number of women in the science and computer technology field increased 1%, while the ratio of Black and Latino workers stayed the same (Huet). According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Affirmative action is an outcome of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, intended to provide equal opportunities for members of minority groups and women in education and employment”. Women and minorities such as, black, or Latinos, suffer from discrimination.
For example, according to Julia Carrie Wong, she states “Google’s workforce is, by its own accounting, 69% male and just 2% African American. Just 20% of technical jobs are held by women.”It is clear that tech companies lack diversity. Throughout the science and computer engineering, Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.
all tend to hire white and Asian men (Wong). With diversity in the workforce, companies could gain a different audience and new ideas can be brought to the table because it would bring a range of skills from different perspectives. Affirmative action is necessary in technology companies because having diversity in the workforce helps companies create better ideas and products that reach a variety of audiences. It exposes the workplace to a variety of cultures and ideas that are different from their own. Affirmative action is a way to improve the workforce, it helps women and minorities have opportunities to advance in any field, and it gives everyone an equal chance at any job. However, Affirmative action in the workplace is a controversial topic. Historically, support for affirmative action has been on a quest to achieve goals such as equality in employment, education, and advocating for diversity.
The term “affirmative action” was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 when he . According to Business Insider’s, Erin Fuchs, “..
.President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order in 1961 that established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and used the term “affirmative action.” He introduced it as a method to battle racial discrimination in the hiring process of more minorities and women. During Kennedy’s presidency, women were not usually seen in computer science fields, or anything technology based, so it was rare seeing a woman in a room full of men learning about computers (Xu). According to Catherina Xu, one of the co-presidents for Women in Computer Science at Stanford University, “I remember walking into one of the classes at Stanford and just deciding not to take the class because I was one of only three women there, and I just felt so intimidated.” Many women feel like this, and similar incidents occur all over the country.
The percentage of women in the science and computer technology field has been declining since the 1980s. The National Science Foundation found that in 1985, more than 35% of computer science majors were women, and that by 2014, the number dropped down to just 18%. Affirmative action is needed to increase diversity in the workplace and reduces discrimination against women and minorities. With diversity and minorities being hired more often, the workplace can develop new ideas from different people and help create better products for a wide audience.
According to Forbes, Bonnie Marcus says, “On August 4, the First-Ever White House Demo Day was organized to showcase women and minority founders in technology. The event, along with President Obama’s call for action, sparked some major tech companies to announce new diversity initiatives.” Facebook, Google, Amazon etc… were on board to demonstrate that they are committed to improving their recruitment and hiring of women and minorities (Marcus).Women all over the world, have a small, growing role in the science and technology fields. Women have different positions in these field, for example, a large percentage of women work in the medical industry, such as, neuroscience, gynaecology, radiology etc.
Despite the rapid growth of technology in the US and the popularity of feminism, women still do not have equal position in the society. Women and girls make up 50 percent of the global population, yet women still do not have access to more than half of resources in terms of technology and many other things. Many people believe that advancing and developing is not possible without a woman’s active role during the process. As said before, Xu states “I remember walking into one of the classes at Stanford and just deciding not to take the class because I was one of only three women there, and I just felt so intimidated,” Women do not lean towards careers like engineering, or computer science, etc… Everyday they are discouraged because women are not seen in fields like this. Usually men are seen behind the computer, or fixing computers.
Thankfully, teenage girls are beginning to be encouraged to look into computer science or engineering. Many companies that have enforced affirmative action have demonstrated the impact on women. According to the National Women’s Law Center, they state “..
.After IBM set up its affirmative action program, its number of female officials and managers more than tripled in less than ten years.” Another example of companies adapting affirmative action is Motorola, they were rewarded with an increased representation of women and people of color in management. The National Women’s Law Center says “The company had two women and six persons of color as vice president in 1989, but boasts 33 female and 40 minority vice presidents today.
” In conclusion, Affirmative Action is necessary for diversity, especially in tech companies where technology is rapidly growing everyday. Without affirmative action, it is possible that companies will disregard hiring minorities nor women.