Silicon Valley famously spent years refusing to talk about its diversity problem. But in the last month, some of the nation's biggest tech companies became more transparent about their demographics: Google, Facebook, Yahoo—even LinkedIn—all released diversity reports. However, Twitter is refusing to get with the times.
When approached by SFist, Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser simply stated "We're not announcing anything at the moment." Which left SFist to ask: "Why won't Twitter announce its diversity numbers?"
It's an apt question: Twitter took extensive heat during their pre-IPO roadshow for not having a single woman amongst their board, investors, and executive team (save for Vijaya Gadde, who had been hired only five weeks prior). The situation led Claire Cain Miller to skewer the company in The New York Times, writing:
The reasons [for the male-dominated culture] are many. The tech industry has an image problem — think geeky man alone at a computer — that repels girls from pursuing it. A sexist engineering culture often dissuades young women in the field, as does the small number of women role models. Venture capital tends to be an old boys' club.
Having women executives matters not just for purposes of equality, business analysts say, but for product development and the bottom line. More women use social media than men, according to a study last month by the Pew Research Center; men and women use Twitter roughly equally. Twitter earns revenue from advertising and women are the chief consumers.
Op-eds such as Miller's helped force Silicon Valley to talk about diversity. While the released numbers have been disappointing—women represent around 30 percent and African Americans rarely exceed 2 percent of the workforce at all companies—corporations are now trying to address the issue.
We emailed Twitter's Jim Prosser to reiterate the question, but are yet to hear a response. What does Twitter have to hide?
[Photo: David Fiame]