Silicon Valley, while awesome at making strides in tech, has a well-documented problem with gender diversity. That’s why we’re loving this real talk from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. She just outlined how she plans to combat gender imbalance, and needless to say, we’re into it.
In an op-ed for Vanity Fair, Wojcicki — who boosted women’s representation at YouTube from 24% to nearly 30% in less than three years at the company’s helm — highlights three main ways to attract and retain female talent. The best part? She’s a female CEO who has successfully changed the gender makeup of her company, so she knows what she’s talking about. And she has the power to implement these changes.
So here are Wojcicki’s three suggestions for how to increase gender diversity within tech companies. Read on and cheer loudly at your computer.
CEOs need to make gender diversity a priority.
Wojcicki says it’s not enough to simple acknowledge that there’s a problem with diversity. In order to make real change, CEOs need to make gender diversity a top priority, and come up with concrete plans to fix the imbalance. She says succinctly:
She uses the great example of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who took a strong stance on family leave. Not only did his effort to create a better family leave policy at Netflix show support for women in the workplace, it also helped retain talent within his company. Plus, his actions also influenced other companies — such as Adobe — to do the same.
Companies need to support women’s groups.
Wojcicki says that companies can help lighten the load for women by donating money to women-led or women-supporting organizations, and to sending female employees to seminars or events. We couldn’t agree more!
With more support and training, real change will be more likely to happen.
Lastly, CEOs need to use their power to hire and help women.
People in power who are committed to gender diversity need to use their privilege for good. Wojcicki uses the example of the late and great Bill Campbell, who was a coach to many in Silicon Valley. Wojcicki remembers that when a semi-secret meeting of tech heads was held, she wasn’t invited — despite being the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world. Campbell noted her absence from the invite list and, aghast, used his influence to make sure Wojcicki got an invite. A great example of someone seeing a wrong, and using their connections to make it right.
Check out Wojcicki’s full article in Vanity Fair here, because it is seriously worth a read.