Gender and racial diversity manifests online in a much broader way than it does so in a physical space. Online media may demonstrate more diversity, yet it is seen less in the workplace. It is apparent in the media industry, specifically tech, that gender and racial diversity is sparse. In “Gender and Technology: Women’s Usage, Creation and Perspectives,” Cindy Royal explains that “technology can provide a voice to the voiceless in a setting where one’s identity can remain anonymous and potentially fluid.”
Royal mentions that “computer technology has an active and pervasive presence in the lives of most Americans, and its influence grows worldwide.” While the tech industry is rapidly growing, it demonstrates an impediment in its diversity. Also, having worked in various media-related companies, I realized it was evident that the majority included white males. While the industry seems to be opening its doors to more gender and racial diversity, it is moving ever so slowly to achieving that goal.
Royal sheds light to the fact that “the computer industry offers a place where gender issues magnify those of the workplace in general.” This can be discouraging at times to those who are trying to enter the mass communication field. Individuals can feel closed off by the lack of diversity that exists in the industry. It feels as though someone can be just as qualified as another, but the company can tend to select their employees based on the individual’s gender or race.
In regards to women working in the tech industry, Royal mentions that women are steered away from working in this field due to the reasoning of “that’s just the way it is,” according to her article “Tech-savvy women seek support in classroom and newsroom.” It seems as though many women have accepted that this is a primarily male-oriented industry, and they rarely discuss methods of improving this issue. Also, in her article, Royal states that “only 11% of top earners at high-tech companies are women.”
Furthermore, Royal touches on how females and ethnic minorities are marginalized in the tech industry in her article “Cindy Royal: Journalism schools need to get better at teaching tech where the girls are.” In an article in Recode, Eric Johnson demonstrates how more people are speaking up about sexual harassment in the tech industry. Similarly, Susan J. Fowler describes her experience while working at Uber in her article “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber.” She describes her difficult encounter with Human Resources when dealing with an incident of sexual harassment with on of her superiors. She was offered little to no options when dealing with the situation. As mentioned, this can cause discouragement among individuals, specifically women or ethnic minorities, when deciding on a career path in the tech or other media-related industries.
Moreover, Megan Rose Dickey explains that African-Americans in the tech industry are scarce, but this is beginning to change. In her article “The 46 Most Important African-American in Technology, Dickey mentions that “Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division – a position previously held by a white man.” Apple boasts about their new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity, who reports to CEO Tim Cook. While diversity in the media industry is lacking, it is clear that women and ethnic minorities are fighting for their place in these related fields.