Twitter has found some success in its push to achieve greater diversity in the tech industry by registering more women for its annual mobile developer conference, says a report from USA Today. The conference kicks off Wednesday, and more than 1,000 software developers will attend.
How is Twitter ensuring diversity?
Women accounted for about 29% of the attendees who registered for the Flight conference, while last year the number was only 18%, the micro-blogging firm said Tuesday. Increasing the representation of Latinos, African Americans, women and LGBT workers in tech is Twitter’s focus, said Twitter’s vice president of engineering, Nandini Ramani.
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To encourage female developers to attend the conference, Twitter created a task force that was required to reach out to organizations working with women, underrepresented minorities and youth such as ‘Girls Who Code’ and ‘Techwomen’, student groups and employee resource groups at other companies.
Twitter also held a #ILookLikeAnEngineer panel on the eve of the conference that featured a group of diverse engineers at its headquarters in San Francisco. Ramani moderated the panel.
Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain introduced the panel, while employee resource groups at Twitter organized it. The panel included Blackbird for the African diaspora, Alas for Latino and Latin American descent, TwitterOpen for the LGBT community, WomEng for women in engineering, and SWAT, which stands for “super women at Twitter.”
Last year, Twitter hosted #womeninflight panel. “This year we are definitely taking it a step further. The problem is not just women. The problem is broader than that,” Ramani said.
Diversity to assume greater priority under Dorsey
Under new Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, diversity may become an even higher priority. Dorsey, who is a Twitter co-founder, is also the CEO and co-founder of Square, a digital payments company that recently filed for an initial public offering.
In Square, Dorsey recruited a woman to serve on his executive team, and also recruited women and minorities to serve on the board of directors. Square’s IPO paperwork filed with the SEC lists five executives, of which three are women. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was added to Square’s board of directors, giving Square both star power and diversity at the top. Educator Ruth Simmons joined the Square board in August.
Twitter is facing rising pressure to improve diversity. Similar to other tech firms, white and male employees dominate Twitter’s workforce, while Asians account for a third of its U.S. staff.