Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is tackling the problem of diversity in tech
Former interim CEO of Reddit Ellen Pao has joined a team of seven other women in the tech industry to form Project Include. Established as a means to improve diversity within the tech industry, the non-profit group will offer early- to mid-stage startups guidance and information to “accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry”.
The project is committed to diversity for all underrepresented groups, including racial, ethnic and gender diversity.
As part of the project, companies are encouraged to be more inclusive of diversity in areas such as gender, race, class, age, religion, education and sexual orientation. Pao and her contemporaries also encourage businesses to be more comprehensive in maintaining efforts to change the culture of their business, as well as being accountable in tracking results and comparing successes.
Alongside Pao, the group includes Erica Joy Baker, senior engineer at Slack Technologies; Bethanye McKinney Blount, co-founder and CEO of Cathy Labs; Tracy Chou, software engineer at Pinterest; Laura I Gomez, founder and CEO at Atipica; Y-Vonne Hutchinson, former international labour rights lawyer and founder of ReadySet; Freada Kapor Klein, partner at Kapor Capital and Kapor Center for Social Impact; and Susan Wu, entrepreneur and angel investor.
“Change is hard, especially around a multidimensional issue like diversity,” the group wrote on its official website. “It is so uncomfortable for us to talk about the diversity problem that we have not been able to fix it. Research has quantified the financial benefits of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. Despite this, we have yet to see significant improvement in diversity numbers.”
Last year, Pao quit social media site Reddit shortly after becoming the company’s first female CEO. Her decision came about following protest from users over the dismissal of Ask Me Anything co-ordinator Victoria Taylor and a 213,500-signature petition calling for Pao’s departure.
The group continued: “In the future, we’d like to look back at this period as a turning point. Out of the groundswell of attention and activity, how do we ensure that initiatives succeed and have lasting positive and meaningful impact? Which will prevail against founder ambivalence, entropy, and media capriciousness?”
“We want the girls, people of colour, and other underrepresented groups that we are encouraging to pursue STEM educations and future tech jobs to have real opportunities to succeed. Ultimately, does your company give everyone a fair shot at success?”
[Image: Christopher Michel – Flickr]