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The members of Project Include, all prominent women in Silicon Valley, in Oakland, Calif., April 26, 2016. The nonprofit effort, announced on May 3, will collect and share data to help diversify the rank-and-file employees who make up tech companies. From left: Susan Wu, Laura Gomez, Erica Baker, Ellen Pao, Tracy Chou, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Bethanye McKinney Blount, and Freada Kapor Klein. (Damien Maloney/The New York Times)

Band of sisters

Tackling tech’s diversity problem, in their spare time

By WITW Staff on May 4, 2016

Eight prominent Silicon Valley champions of diversity have banded together to launch Project Include, a nonprofit that will collect and share real employment data in the hopes of breaking up homogeneity in the predominantly white, male tech industry.

Ellen Pao, a household name for the gender discrimination lawsuit she brought and lost last year against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was the first to have an inkling that the group would come to be. She reached out to others in the valley known for getting behind diversity issues, including Erica Baker, a former Google employee who made waves when she created a spreadsheet where other Googlers could — and did — share their salaries, which brought pay disparities to light. The work that they and their six partners do with Project Include will happen outside their full-time employment at a host of prominent tech companies.

Project Include wants to monitor 18 companies to start, and track the diversity of their workforces over time. It is targeting start-ups that employ 25 to 1,000 people and will publish its findings about any successes or failures.

“The standard mantra for every company on diversity statistics is, ‘We’re not doing well, but we’re working on it,’” Pao told The New York Times. “People don’t learn anything from that. Can you tell us what are you actually doing?”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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