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That same month, she wrote a post on Medium in which she called on people to share data from their own companies, and she set up a spreadsheet where they could do so.
“This thing that had been an open secret in Silicon Valley became open to everybody,” Chou told me.
In January 2015, in a keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, announced that his company would devote 0 million to diversity efforts over the next five years.
Two months later, Apple pledged million to partner with nonprofits that work to improve the pipeline of women and minorities going into tech, and that spring Google announced that it would increase its annual budget for promoting diversity from 5 million to 0 million.
Ironically enough, this very belief can perpetuate inequality.
A 2010 study, “The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations,” found that in cultures that espouse meritocracy, managers may in fact “show greater bias in favor of men over equally performing women.” In a series of three experiments, the researchers presented participants with profiles of similarly performing individuals of both genders, and asked them to award bonuses.
Bethanye Blount came into work early to interview a job applicant.
A veteran software engineer then in her 30s, Blount held a senior position at the company that runs Second Life, the online virtual world.
According to Nancy Lee, Google’s vice president of people operations until she retired in February, the company saw both a business imperative—it is, after all, designing a global product—and a moral one.The study authors considered several alternative explanations for the low numbers of women in those fields—including that women might not want to work long hours and that there might be more men at the high end of the aptitude spectrum, an idea notoriously put forward in 2005 by then–Harvard President Larry Summers.But the data did not support these other theories.“The more a field valued giftedness, the fewer the female Ph Ds,” the study found, pointing out that the same pattern held for African Americans.It’s also a young field, with none of the history of, say, law or medicine, where women were long denied spots in graduate schools intended for “breadwinning men.”“We don’t have the same histories of exclusion,” says Joelle Emerson, the founder and CEO of Paradigm, a firm in San Francisco that advises companies on diversity and inclusion.But being new comes with its own problems: Because Silicon Valley is a place where a newcomer can unseat the most established player, many people there believe—despite evidence everywhere to the contrary—that tech is a meritocracy.