Women of color at tech companies are few and far between

Megan Rose Dickey
Thanks to an analysis of EEO-1 data by Reveal News, we have a clear picture of just how many women of color (Native American, black, Latina, Pacific Islander, or two or more races) work at major tech companies.

Thanks to an analysis of EEO-1 data by Reveal News, we have a clear picture of just how many women of color (Native American, black, Latina, Pacific Islander, or two or more races) work at major tech companies. When tech companies release their diversity reports, they rarely, if ever, report intersectional data such as the percentage of women of color they employ. In early 2016, Slack became the first tech company to do that.

Apple, likely because its numbers encompass everyone ranging from top executives to retail employees, employs the highest percentage of women of color, according to the analysis. Nine percent of employees at Apple are women of color compared to about four percent of women of color employees at Facebook. At Google, the percentage of women of color is even lower at below four percent.

At the professional level (software engineers, lawyers, HR folk, etc), however, Apple falls below four percent while Lyft jumps up to number one with women of color making up five percent of its professional workforce. Meanwhile, Google falls below three percent.

Pinterest wins at the management and executive levels for employment of women of color. The startup's representation of women of color in high-up roles is eight percent, followed by 23andMe at six percent. At this level, Apple and Lyft fall to below four percent.

Gender and race are highly interconnected for so many people. Women and trans people of color have intersectional identities as cisgender or transgender women, or as trans men and as people of color “within discourses that are shaped to respond to one or the other,” legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw wrote in her 1993 essay, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” That means society can marginalize them within both gender and race.

Perhaps the next step in diversity reports would be to address all intersectional identities. Without recognition of the complexities of identity, tech companies will remain incapable of meaningfully tackling inclusion.

Be sure to head over to Reveal for the full breakdown, which includes companies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Square, Salesforce and others.