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Communications of the ACM

Broadening participation

Innovation and Inclusion

Innovation and Inclusion, illustration


San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Boston—these cities are magnets for startup companies inventing breakthrough technologies that are changing the way we learn, get around, socialize, and do our jobs. While these cities are acknowledged for their socially progressive urban cultures, the cultures within some of these startup companies are a far cry from progressive when it comes to gender diversity and inclusion. At most technology startups, women are underrepresented at all levels.

It seems unthinkable that companies developing technologies for use by males and females alike would fail to recognize the benefits of including women in the product development process. Yet, while women constitute about half of the U.S. workforce, they filled only about 23% of computing positions in 2012.a In our article published in the February 2009 issue of Communications,1 we reported the number of women in math and computer science positions had declined from 33% in 1984 to 27% in 2004. Earlier this year, Google revealed women held 17% of the company's technical positions. By publicly releasing this data, Google joins other companies, such as Intel, that are shining a spotlight on a problem they are working hard to fix.


Thomas Limoncelli

This is the first time I've read an article that has clear, actionable, advice for companies looking to improve in this area. I've read many articles, often they aren't clear or actionationable. Thanks!

It is a shame this is behind the paywall. I'd like to recommend it to many more people.

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