The diversity effort that will leave your jaw on the floor

When you’re organizing team photos, take note: this is not how to address diversity

The diversity effort that will leave your jaw on the floor

On Friday, Upworthy cofounder Eli Pariser found himself in Soho co-working space WeWork, which would not have been news except for a snippet of conversation he overheard and published on Facebook.

Apparently, some companies choose to address diversity by roping in women of ethnic appearance to join their staff photos.

According to Pariser’s public Facebook post, this is what was said to a “Latina lady”:

“We’re about to launch our website, and we need a picture of our support team, but we need some diversity – we’re all just white dudes. Would you be willing to pose as part of our team?”

And it worked:

“It was pretty awkward. She was very reluctant to do it, but they convinced her in the end.”

Pariser says he did not catch the name of the company, although it’s likely to be a tech start-up, like most companies that populate co-working spaces. If that is the case, then the company is unlikely to be unique in its industry for its lack of diversity: an ongoing study of the proportion of women in software engineering shows that across the nation, just 12% are female.


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