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Facebook launches initiative to help improve diversity in tech

Thursday, 22 October 2015 | By Denham Sadler

Facebook has been one of many giant tech companies to release its internal diversity figures and pledge to do better, and now it has announced an initiative aiming to tackle this issue across the entire tech world.


The social networking giant has created a standalone website dedicated to increasing diversity in tech through targeting the pipeline of young women and minorities who may want to pursue a career in the sector, and their parents.


TechPrep is a “resource hub” that includes curated resources such as games, books, in-person opportunities and upcoming events.


As Re/Code reports, the site doesn’t actually teach users anything, but points them in the direction of good places to get started.


Global director of diversity at Facebook Maxine Williams says the website arose from research that showed the majority of parents don’t know how to help their children follow computer science.


“After looking closely at the data, we realised that one challenge is a lack of exposure to computer science and careers in technology, as well as lack of resources for parents, guardians and others who want to learn more,” Williams says.


“Our goal is to spur interest in CS and programming and motivate people from all backgrounds to pursue careers in tech. We believe through exposure and access parents, guardians and other influencers can enable their children and learners can gain the skills they need to have technical careers.”


The actual site isn’t really the key here – there are countless others that do the same thing – but Facebook’s direct involvement and the 1.5 billion users that come with that are what make it stand out. The social media platform will be pushing specifically targeted ads for TechPrep throughout the newsfeed.

Facebook has its own problems with diversity too, with recent figures showing 68% of its workforce is male and 55% is white.


“Diversity is central to Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world – both because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s good for our product and business,” Williams tells Re/Code.


“When we think about what is happening with computer science and programming and skills and the skills gap, we know that unless we help these parents and guardians, the same problems we’re dealing with in our immediate world will simply continue.”


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