How Sheryl Sandberg Plans To Increase The Presence Of Women At Facebook

Sheryl-Sandberg-Facebook-COO

We saw reports from Google and Facebook back in July about the state (or lack thereof) of diversity at the two tech giants. Both companies stated they were severely lacking in female employees, and the majority of their staff were made up of Caucasian and Asian males.

However, more recently, CNBC reported that Ebay is doing a little better in the diversity department, with their latest reporting showing that 42% of their staff is female, 7% are African-American, and 5% are Hispanic. Of course those numbers don’t even come close to being the poster child for equality, but it is better than the average 30-39% that Facebook, Google & even Yahoo & Linkedin report.

Facebook COO and champion for women in the workforce, Sheryl Sandberg, is taking things one step further and issuing the call for more women to be hired at the social networking company. In an interview with USA Today she stated she wants half of Facebook’s employees to be women.

“Endless data show that diverse teams make better decisions. We are building products that people with very diverse backgrounds use, and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people who use our products. That’s not true of any industry really, and we have a long way to go,” she states.

One of the ways she believes will shift the numbers in favor of more diversity, she believes, is education.

“we are not going to fix the numbers for under-representation in technology or any industry until we fix our education system and until we fix the stereotypes about women and minorities in math and science,” she says echoing the importance of many STEM initiatives for young girls today.

sheryl-Sandberg-facebook-staff

“Girls are at 18% of computer science college majors. We can’t go much above 18% in our coders if there’s only 18% coming into the workplace, and at every level, more boys stay in than girls in every industry. In order to move numbers, we all understand that we have to increase the numbers going into the funnel.”

While it may seem like a big ask, her expectations of having half of all Facebook employees be female is a good goal to have and it means if they can eventually achieve it, it will set a benchmark for others to follow suit.

“I want half, half, half across the board. Fifty percent. I would like women to earn 58% of the (computer science) degrees, because women earn 58% of college degrees.”

“There was such a big deal made when women won 20% of the Senate seats. All the articles kept saying: Women take over the Senate, women take over the Senate. This is in the last election. Fifty percent of the population with 20% of the seats is not a takeover. It’s a problem. Our expectation needs to be 50%.”

“I also want to be clear we are not on the path to get there. In tech, if women are 18% of the graduates, we are not getting to 50% of the jobs. We have got to change that.”

aol-build-girls-who-code

If it starts with education, then she might be interested in this. One of the best known and largest companies aimed at getting girls interested in the tech industry is Girls Who Code. AOL has a super cool program called AOL Build where this year they teamed up with some of the girls who have come through the GWC program, and enlisted them to help re-code and revamp AOL’s celebrity gossip site Cambio.

Five girls were chosen to be part of a 7-week program and one of their revamp ideas was to build a meme generator on Cambio where users could find inspirational quotes and create a shareable meme on social media. Their executions will debut on Cambio in October, and the girls have been using their own hashtag #builtbygirls which will encourage others to find out about this program and get interested in what they are doing.

At the end of the 7 weeks the girls sat down with AOL for a series of talks about their experience and why being a girl in this world is exciting. They talked about being fearless, having creative control over their interests, breaking down stigma, and of course learning things about an industry they probably never would have known without the help of an organization like Girls Who Code.

GWC aims to have 1 million girls come through their coding program by 2020, and the more they are visible in mainstream media, we have no doubt the next generation of computer science experts will be starting to fill those gaps mentioned above by Sheryl Sandberg.

It’s exciting to see the creative and innovative ways the diversity and equality problems in the workforce are being tackled. Investing in the next generation is an extremely smart way to go.

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Women In Tech Feat. In 'Dear Kate' Underwear Campaign. Sexist Or Empowering?

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