What We’ve Learned From 5 Years of Big Tech Diversity Reports: The Broadsheet

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Glossier’s Emily Weiss gets a must-read profile, women enter Tehran’s soccer stadium en masse for the first time in decades, and we look back at five years of tech diversity reports. Have a wonderful weekend. 


- Diving into diversity reports. Back in 2014, some of the biggest tech companies—including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft—started giving the public a glimpse into their gender and racial makeups, in the form of an annual "diversity report."

At the time, Fortune and other media outlets jumped to cover the reports. We already knew the burgeoning tech industry was overwhelmingly white and male, but it felt important to understand the scale and detail of the problem—and it was. Yet over time, the urgency of writing about those reports year after year started to slide away.

One reason for the shift, at least in my experience, is that after several years of covering the oh-so-very incremental change—a percentage point up here, a percentage point down there—it often felt like there was nothing new to say. Yes, the company was "making progress," but yes, there was "still a long way to go." 

So I appreciate this Wired piece, which reflects on the five years of data we now have from these tech giants and attempts to boil down what it tells us. The writer, Sara Harrison, focuses specifically on the stats for technical workers, which screen out employees working in more traditionally female-heavy fields like HR and marketing. To vastly oversimplify, she finds that the big players have made notable improvements when it comes to women (though none is anywhere close to parity) and very little change when it comes to black and Latinx workers.

All the old problems—biased cultures, high rates of attrition among women and underrepresented minorities, and the fact that tech education still draws mostly white or Asian men—are still at play. But there is some bright side to Harrison's reporting: 

"AnitaB.org, which advocates for women in tech, found that larger companies, including Microsoft, are promoting women at a slightly higher rate than men. Correspondingly, those larger companies’ retention rates for women exceeded those of small and midsize companies. That may, in part, explain why the share of women in tech has steadily risen. Jacqueline Copeland, AnitaB.org’s chief operating officer, says the data indicates tech companies may finally be reaching a tipping point, where there are enough women at organizations to truly change the culture."

I encourage you to click through and take a look at the five-year trend data. It's a good reminder: Change often feels glacial, which can make talking about issues of inequality feel like you're shouting into the void. But the reality is that discussion matters. So keep at it—we will too. 

A bit of Fortune housekeeping: We're gearing up to launch a new premium newsletter, Fortune Analytics, which will bring readers exclusive business insights from proprietary data. For a sneak peek, click here

Kristen Bellstrom


- LGBTQ rights. With the Supreme Court soon set to decide on LGBTQ employment rights, Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a plan to protect the community (as did Pete Buttigieg). Warren's ideas include implementing measures to reduce violence against trans women of color, creating a special envoy to the State Department to oversee LGBTQ human rights, and designating federal resources to be used to end LGBTQ homelessness. Vox

- The sweet spot. Hershey CEO Michele Buck gives a Corner Office interview. She started her career selling Funyuns, Munchos, and Cheetos before inventing a new holiday for Cool Whip. (Fourth of July American flag cakes? That was her.) New York Times

- Wow, Weiss. In this meaty profile, Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss discusses everything from freezing her eggs to the alternate reality where she could have been a full-time beauty influencer instead of CEO. “If you look at a company like Nike, I mean, that’s what is possible for our future,” Weiss says. “It’s just about how quickly can we get there." Vanity Fair

- Day of the Girl. Today is International Day of the Girl. Read up on the day of celebration here, including the #MarchforSisterhood headed by Girls Who Code. Refinery29

- New CEO alert. Jennifer Morgan (No. 43 on Fortune's MPW list) has been named co-CEO of SAP, effective immediately. The company announced last night that previous CEO Bill McDermott is stepping down and that Morgan, who was most recently head of the company's cloud business, and Christian Klein would jointly take on the top job.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Renault has named Clotilde Delbos interim CEO. Grist named Lisa Garcia, formerly of the EPA, director of its solutions lab Fix. SVP of customer experience Kerry Philipovitch will retire from American Airlines. Madeline Kolbe Saltzman joined True Ventures as VP of culture. 


- Football, finally. For the first time in decades, Iranian women were permitted to attend a soccer match in their home country yesterday. Iran allowed only 4,000 women into the Tehran stadium—which has a capacity of 80,000. Time

- Hotel upgrade. More than 5,000 hotels and resorts have given hotel workers security devices to help prevent sexual harassment. Not all the devices are true panic buttons that call for help; some only make loud noises to alert passers-by that something is wrong. Hotel unions have been pushing strongly for the safety measure since the birth of the #MeToo movement. LA Times

- I'd like to (not) thank the Academy. Mindy Kaling recently said in an Elle interview that when The Office was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Television Academy moved to strip her of her producer credit, requiring Kaling to submit materials proving her contributions and get letters of support from her (white, male) colleagues who were nominated without question. The Academy put out a statement denying that anyone was singled out. Now Kaling is questioning the Academy's denial: "Why not say 'years ago we prevented a deserving woman of color from getting credit for her accomplishments. We’re sorry and it would never happen now.'" Fortune  

- Mental Health Day. For yesterday's World Mental Health Day, Arianna Huffington wrote for Fortune about what she dubs the world's mental health crisis. "Until now, we haven’t had the right cultural conversations to encourage taking upstream action when it comes to mental health," the Thrive Global CEO writes. "That’s what makes this moment so promising." Fortune

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe. Share it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Tennis star Naomi Osaka gives up her U.S. citizenship to play for Japan in Tokyo Olympics Washington Post

Birchbox and Refinery29 launch two beauty kits for women of color Essence

Are the women of Succession finally about to smash the patriarchy? Gen


"I look totally artificial, but I am totally real, as a writer, as a professional, as a human being. A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond."

-Dolly Parton, one of Elle's 2019 Women in Hollywood

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