Weekly Brief: Diversity in Tech – Zuckerberg’s Quest to Explore The Future of Technology Featured Mostly White Men

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Mark Zuckerberg has made headlines this week (not again… surely?)… and not for a good reason. His self-set 2019 “personal challenge” was to “host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society” and as the year draws to a close, it’s evident that he has failed spectacularly. Over the past 11 months, he’s held just 6 “discussions” and almost all of these have been with older, white men – the demographic that has always dominated the technology industry. Out of his 9 guests, all of them were white, 8 of them were men, all but 1 were over the age of 40 and 7 were professors or doctors. 

Zuckerberg has shown a fairly clear lack of social awareness and sensitivity to issues of diversity in his planning. By interviewing people exactly like him he’s cut a lot of people out of the discussion.. And the buck doesn’t stop with Zuckerberg. Diversity in tech is a pervasive problem that few have addressed. A recent article in Forbes notes that whilst a record $34.3bn was invested in European tech in 2019, $92 in every $100 invested went to all-male founding teams. Funding for all-female teams has actually dropped since 2018. This is pretty shocking and something needs to be done.

But what can we do? Well, we can lobby for change. Whether through raising awareness, signing petitions or calling out Big Tech, everything makes a difference. At the VC level, actively look for startups with female founders. We can also make a difference at Work in Startups. Over the course of 2019, women made up 45.2% of all applicants on the site. This is pretty good… but we can do better! Let us know how you think we can drive change.

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