The Curious Incident of a Lack of Female Engineers for Social Media

The Curious Incident of a Lack of Female Engineers for Social Media

Back in January of 2017, Pinterest released data that showed that they hadn’t hired as many female engineers as they had planned to that year.  Because they fell short of their goal, they lowered it for the next time so that they would have a better chance to reach it.  Their CEO, Ben Silbermann, said: We updated our women in engineering hiring rate goal to 25% for 2017. We still aspire to 30%—but realize it’s likely going to take more than 12 months to get there.  And since we’ve seen so much success with the Rooney Rule for executive roles, we’re extending it to more teams”.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the female engineers for Facebook were claiming gender bias in the company.  Apparently, it was found that “female engineers received 35% more rejections of their code than men”.

Facebook somewhat denied this claim, but they did admit that there was a lack of diversity within their senior engineers for the company.

For both of these social media sites, their user base is mostly women.  According to a recent report, 83% of female internet users use Facebook, in comparison to 75% of male internet users.  85% of Pinterest users are female as well.

But despite their demographics being mostly female, there are more male engineers in both companies.


So What Can Be Done?


Fortune writer, Kathryn Hempstalk, suggests making more of an effort than just “ticking a box”.  She suggests that having a quota of how many women to hire isn’t the answer.

In her Fortune article, she writes: Gender diversity will only exist within a company when there’s a commitment to it from the top down. Setting hard targets is rarely the answer, as it’s more important for people to be hired or promoted based on merit in order to appoint the best person for the job.”

She also suggests that we need to introduce technology into young people’s lives sooner, which is something many people have been arguing for a while now.  If we introduce not only the idea of pursuing technology to girls at an early age, but also teach them from an early age, we promote more gender diversity right there.  The added bonus being that no one will have to hang there head in shame when they don’t hire “enough” women of the job.  There will be plenty of men and women who will be qualified to do the job, and as a result, more diversity in tech around without having to push for it.


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