Report cover by Gabrielle Mérite for Project Include

How to fix what’s really wrong with companies

Over the past year, we’ve suffered so much. Covid-19 made almost everything worse at work. Harassment and hostility, work pressure, and the strain of a pandemic, along with trauma from ongoing racism, sexism, and other discrimination, have taken a toll on mental health. Until now, little research has been done on the impact of Covid-19 on the tech workforce. Project Include surveyed almost 3,000 people and interviewed dozens more about the shift to remote online workplaces. We looked specifically at who has been harmed, how they were harmed, and how to fix it.

Here’s what we learned: Harassment and hostility…

Dear Jack,

We’re embarrassed that it’s gotten to the point where we have to explicitly write this:

Don’t support a coup.

Donald Trump is attempting a coup. And he’s running it through Twitter.

Photo of “Trump’s coup app” projected on Twitter headquarters with an arrow at the Twitter logo
Photo of “Trump’s coup app” projected on Twitter headquarters with an arrow at the Twitter logo
Photo by @AEMarling

Yes, we know you’ve been flagging him, but flagging doesn’t help — it attracts more attention and more engagement. One flagged tweet has almost half a million likes and retweets. How many millions of people saw the tweet and believed it?

Suspend Donald Trump now

Dear Jack,

You can still make a difference for democracy, human health, and our planet. We are urging you, again, to do what you should have done four years ago when we first asked: Suspend Trump’s personal account based on his constant violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service and Policies. We specifically noted then and again now that his harmful tweets encourage and amplify hate and harassment from his followers in addition to spreading harmful propaganda and lies.

Asians in Tech for Black Lives Matter: A Call to Action by Ellen Pao and Michelle Kim

We are members of the Asian and Asian American tech community who stand in solidarity with the Black community. We acknowledge white supremacy and anti-Black racism in tech, and we call on our Asian and Asian American colleagues to use our relative privilege to demand change.

Our community has faced heightened anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, including slurs and violent attacks rooted in white supremacy. We cannot fight the force of white supremacy without also fighting against anti-Black racism. We have benefited greatly from Black community activism for decades, from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that opened…

A call to action from Aniyia Williams & Ellen Pao

Photo by Carl Storey. Courtesy of Black & Brown Founders.

Women founders of color deserve recognition — and money. It’s time to replace the window-dressing with real representation.

On International Women’s Day, we should focus on the numbers, and the right numbers. International Women’s Day (#IWD2020) was designed to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of all women — while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. …

Set targets, plan a budget, and do the basics

Photo by U3068783 under CC3.0

The past several years have been full of important learnings: Studies show how intersectionality applies to tech, makes the playing field uneven, and enables bias in hiring, funding, and compensation — including stock compensation. We all agree workplace harassment is wrong and cuts across gender and sexual orientation, and pledged to do better in recruiting, promoting, paying, and funding.

And we have a roadmap and tools. CEOs can move past tech backlash and public skepticism by affirming their commitment to a positive company culture and employee welfare through clear, simple actions that build trust with employees.

We are asking every tech startup CEO to take three actions in 2020.

  1. Set targets for diversity

The 2010s have been rough for the technology industry. We’ve watched social media platforms spiral into toxicity, harassment, fake news, election interference, hate, and genocide. In 2019, terrible judgment from one tech company or another seemed to hit the news every week, as large-scale problems appeared more normal and less avoidable. CEOs and their boards showed repeatedly that they don’t care about their employees much less their customers.

The most dangerous takeaway from this year is that inertia has won out: Boards and executive teams of all white men. Harassers that come back or have never left. Diversity and Inclusion…

Aniyia Williams of Black & Brown Founders, Ellen Pao of Project Include, Karla Monterroso of Code2040, and Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls CODE

Giving to nonprofits run by women of color means more than you may realize

We are four women of color running nonprofits focused on changing the future of tech. This holiday season, we want to thank our communities of donors, both large and small, who help bridge the gap for our work.

Our organizations run lean, with less money and fewer people than we’d like, and we squeeze the most of every minute of the day. Your donations help us meet our goals. …

Edited version of photo from Motcombe under CC2.0

Because promises to try harder don’t work

For three years, CEOs, diversity advocates, and reporters have asked the same burning question:

What is the one thing that companies can do to become diverse and inclusive?

The answer is diversity and inclusion (D&I) requires more than a single action; there is no silver bullet. But there may be a first milestone that can focus and accelerate your entire journey.

Project Include has been advocating one key path for meaningful progress: metrics. And today we strongly recommend specific targets. We’ve seen more and more startups set targets for diversity demographics, just as they would for any other business imperative

It’s time for venture investors to dig deeper on diversity, starting with the right metrics.

True diversity requires metrics and accountability. It’s more than intent, it’s more than optics, and it’s a lot more than a superficial measurement.

Venture capital firms are starting to understand and share diversity numbers for portfolio founders. Most, like USV and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, are calculating metrics at the startup level, where they count the percentage of startups with at least one founder in a particular category. …

Ellen K. Pao

Co-Founder and CEO of Project Include. Author of Reset. Angel investor.

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