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Diversity is widely accepted as a pro rather than a con. Having a more diverse team leads to more unique perspectives and ideas. Companies across all industries champion diversity and its impacts. Many of them support programs to increase the number of women and minorities on their teams. With all this said, how is it that the giants in the tech industry still struggle with a massive gender gap and lack of diversity? Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and several other leaders in the industry have released their employment information in recent years. What these numbers have revealed is the extent to which white males dominate the technology industry. The percentage of women, African-Americans, and Hispanics at these companies is often in the single digits for each category. If these companies are true to their word, and honestly willing to correct the issue, then they must first understand why these discrepancies exist.

During the time after World War 2, coding and software were considered secretarial positions that were suitable for women. Men had deemed that the future was in hardware, but once software proved its potential profitability, males came flooding in and overtook this realm. When PCs came about, they were marketed mainly to males and many more boys owned computers than girls. The PC was believed to be a ‘boy’s toy’ while girls were directed to play with dolls and fashion. Men replaced women at the forefront of advancements in computers. By the time these men reach college they have a significant advantage over women when it comes to technology, and much more interest in STEM fields as well. This is what led to the industry being dominated by males. However in the past 20 years, society has evolved to the point where almost everyone owns a PC regardless of gender, and the young women in our world have equal experience and opportunity with technology as males. The women graduating and entering the workforce today are just as if not more capable with computers than their counterparts, which leads us to the conclusion that a big reason for continued discrepancies between males and females being hired is sexism. But this is not the only group who is suffering in Silicon Valley. For the small amount of women working with technology today, there are even less minorities. One of the reasons for this is because certain minority groups were not able to afford PCs when they were first released. As a result they fell behind the curve as well, and some still struggle to attain the proper resources in order to learn any technology. Now, I am not saying that this is the reason why males are better developers than women and minorities, because that is altogether not true. There are countless women and minorities who are running companies or have started their own. And while this is also not an excuse for these groups, we must recognize the fact that they have been generationally disadvantaged and as a result we must tilt the scales in the opposite direction in order to finally even the playing field for good. Companies should not look for minorities and women in order to meet quotas; they should be seeking to enable diversity in their workplace because of its benefits. And ‘diversity’ does not refer to simply race; it refers to personalities, ideas, and backgrounds. A more diverse workplace fosters inclusion and more innovation, which every company should desire. As more and more influential women and minorities gaining powerful positions in the industry, I pray that these leaders will recognize that they can find capable, diverse talent in any place, and that they set an example for other leaders by proving how positive diversity truly is.

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