By: L. Young and Koby T. Young
SAN FRANCISCO----/April 21, 2019/U.S.A.---Five years after pledging to change the face of technology, the industry is still struggling with too much discrimination and too little diversity.
Now Presiding Bishop, Pastor Civil Rights leader Bishop Toris T. Young is calling on companies to redouble efforts to include more women, African American, and Hispanics and began to release better information on the progress they are making with the general public, who purchase these services and products.
"It's time to take stock of what has been done; what has worked and what hasn't," wrote in a letter to Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Twitter, Yahoo, and other major companies obtained exclusively by Greater Bibleway Church International News.
The letter, which requests a number of new pieces of information from tech companies, was also signed by one hundred groups and leaders advocating for greater diversity in tech, including the Spoken Word Ministerial Alliance International, The Louisiana Ministerial Alliance of Churches For All people and the Rev. Jessie L. Jackson Rainbow Push Coalition.
"Companies must set specific, quantifiable diversity and inclusion goals, targets, and timetables," Young wrote. 'Without them, the ability to measure and be accountable for progress will be difficult." The renewed push reflects growing frustration with how teaching is addressing one of its greatest challenges in an increasingly global marketplace. The high-paying, fast-growing industry, mostly staffed by white and Asian men, is leaving out women, African Americans, and Hispanics. And diversity activists say companies are deliberately withholding critical information and fudging demographic statistics to mask the extent of the problem they have allowed to continue.
Their proposed fix: for more companies to make public the annual reports they file with the federal government on workforce demographics broken down by race and gender. Fewer than two dozen companies have published these reports called EEO-1s, some of them only under duress. Many companies such as Tesla have refused to disclose any demographic information at all about their workers. In the letter, Bishop Young and other diversity advocates asked those companies that have not released EEO-1 reports to produce them for the last five years. They also asked companies to disclose the number of new hires made over the same period, broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity; employee retention rates by race, ethnicity, and gender; affirmative action plans and spending on suppliers from diverse backgrounds; and details on diversity and inclusion policies and practices.
Pressure for increased transparency comes amid a broader backlash against big tech, from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and from the consumers to investors who Bishop Young has been education on these issues.
At the same time, recruiting and retention efforts to re-engineer demographics to include more women and people of color have subjected companies such as Google to sharp criticism -- sometimes from within their own ranks -- putting tech's big names in the crosshairs of the nation's culture wars. It was never much of a secret in Silicon Valley that tech companies had very few women, African Americans, and Hispanics. But tech CEO's refused to supply basic information on the demographics of their companies to the public, calling it a trade secret. Leaders such as Bishop Toris T. Young waged campaigns for years, arguing that making the information public was necessary to shake up the industry's lopsided demographics. Google began publishing the demographics of its workforce on an annual basis in 2014. Soon other top tech companies followed suit, revealing an industry at odds with America's growing diversity.
Nationwide, the industry is 74% male, 69% white and 21% Asian, according to a report from the Kapor Center for Social Impact. In Silicon Valley, blacks and Hispanics make up between 3% and 6% or less. These groups are represented across other industries at much higher rates consistent with their proportion of the overall U. S. population, which is half women, about 13% black and nearly 18% Hispanic, according to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Not only are women and people of color hired in lower numbers than white men, they also leave tech at a much higher rate. A recent analysis by the non-profit Ascend Foundation indicated that the number of black and Hispanic professionals in Silicon Valley's tech sector declined over the past eight years.
Despite pledges, diversity advocates say too few CEO's have made diversity an urgent business priority. Diversity staffers are given little in the way of resources and authority. And, advocates say, diversity data is too easily manipulated to make it seem like companies are making more progress than they actually are. New pushes are underway to create a standardized methodology that would increase transparency. Bishop Toris T. Young and Greater Bibleway Church International has made this a priority in ministry.
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