Great piece from BBC News about the importance of diverse role models in the tech world, with a focus on black women making strides in the Memphis area.
Facebook has more than one billion users and hires more than 1,000 people each year in the US. But in 2013, just one of these new employees was a black woman. Fewer than 2% of employees at Google, Twitter and Facebook are black. The tech industry is trying to tackle this diversity problem – but efforts are also being made at the grass-roots level.
If you’ve ever read a profile of a successful US tech company, you’ve probably read a story like this: white men meet while studying at a prestigious university and start a business out of a garage. HP, Apple, Google, Amazon – all started by white men in garages. It’s a story that inspires young tech entrepreneurs to follow in their path.
But in places like Memphis, where two-thirds of the population is African-American, there are few role models to show young black girls that a successful career in tech is possible.
“White guy, Oxford shirt, black slacks,” recalls Audrey Jones. “The IBM uniform. That’s what I thought a smart person looked like, not like me or anybody else that I knew.”
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