Diversity at Google?

Lately, we’ve heard a lot from Google outing itself with respect to diversity.  They released data that revealed their workforce numbers.  It’s very telling.  But, is it a story of purposeful and deliberate racism or sexism?  Don’t be so quick.  Let’s look at the numbers first…

PBS.org

Let’s take a look at one of the hardest hit groups of this economic downturn, African-Americans.  If we look at the site BlackDemographics.com, we see what I experienced at grad school…not a lot of African-Americans getting into the sciences.  One our of ten is a decent number actually, to be exact the site is citing 9.1%.  When you couple that with the number in the all column, 10.9%, you see a slight difference.

While Neil deGrasse does not address these numbers directly, he has something to say about this at blackenterprise.com.  Not to mention, the numbers are increasing according to a press release cited at sciencemag.org.

Let’s back up for a minute and look at the numbers for women.  A great number of women are not in the tech positions either.  Although, I suspect that this is different in other industries.  When I was in grad school, there were departments that we better represented by women, mainly chemistry and biology.  At my school in particular, most of the women in the chemistry department were using chemistry as a stepping stone for pharmacy school.   Currently, I found an unverified source that stating that 61% of pharmacy students were female.  The industry shows that as of 2009, women make up 46.4% of the workforce.  How does that compare to other science fields?

How about nursing?  It’s a science field that is completely dominated by women.  I think I’ve seen the numbers at 94%.  Well, women take on nursing as a career for a few reasons.  Most of your nurses are nurturing yet can do science, and that first part doesn’t come natural to a person like me.  Another perspective is that, like pharmacy, nurses have pretty flexible hours when they want.  It’s simply a good choice for the family core.

Have a look at articles at forbes.com and geekwire.com.  Some of this is very telling.  It’s not just a Google problem.  If there are higher representations in the sciences, we have to ask why.  Is it that underrepresented people are not let in?  Or is it that they choose different industries?