Here are my thoughts on Google's diversity numbers:
- The numbers are not great, not great at all. I really hate that.
- In the two years I've worked here, Google has talked openly and transparently about diversity issues and their goals for improving.
- (I'm sure it hasn't always been this way, and that we lost a lot of great co-workers and potential co-workers over misogyny and racism. I mourn for those we lost.)
- I think Google handles diversity better than any other company or organization in which I've ever worked-- including "progressive" organizations. Obama for America was the worst organization I've worked at in terms of talking about and addressing diversity issues. Here's a picture of the Obama 2012 tech team.
- What Google says publicly is not the limit of what they tell us internally. Leadership's openness about their failure makes me trust their decisions.
- By talking about the numbers publicly, Google is demonstrating a commitment to making a change.
- As a technologist, the way I can tell if things are improving over time is by measuring them. Publicizing these numbers ensures Google is accountable to its employees and the external community.
- The categories they break the numbers out into are dumb. Google knows gender isn't binary and that Asian isn't an ethnicity. There are good, non-public reasons the numbers are tracked this way that have nothing to do with lack of awareness or sensitivity.
- I can feel the support and the intentional way Google is trying to ensure I achieve my potential in my day-to-day work through special mentoring, repeated and consistent messaging from my bosses that I am valued, respected and included, and through programs aimed at ensuring I am supported as a lady in the field. I have never had this anywhere else.
- I'm really proud of the work my colleagues are doing to encourage students of color to pursue technical degrees, including Charles Pratt who sits next to me here in DC. Charles developed a new curriculum at Howard and taught CS for a year. He has been incredibly successful in preparing his students for entry into the field of technology.
- Google has changed its policies to ensure they recruit and retain women.
- Google has given 40 million dollars to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls. Google literally puts its money where its mouth is.
I'm not saying life is perfect at Google, but I am saying I am proud to be a part of this company. Although the results are not yet where they need to be, I think Google's leadership is aggressively pursuing a data-driven strategy to ensure we attract highly talented women and colleagues from other under-representative communities.
Also, you should come and work with me.
Edit: to Add: I love Matt Stempeck's visualization of Google diversity.