Facebook has committed a new initiative to broaden diversity within its workforce as part o the Increasing Diversity in Innovation conference which is being held this week, and aims to improve support for underrepresented inventors, specifically, across the tech sector.
As explained by Facebook:
“Increasing Diversity in Innovation brings together leaders in academia, government, and the technology industry to discuss how to support underrepresented inventors. The conference will focus on unconscious bias, systemic injustice in patent process, techniques to reach diverse inventors, and the importance innovation.
Aside from the educational sessions, cOnference attendees will sign a “Pledge to Increase Diversity In Inventorship” which is a commitment by each organization to increase support of underrepresented inventors.
Facebook, which is the original creator of the pledge, is already committed to its goals. It has also announced an expansion of its program that aims at gender parity in patenting.
“We’ve recently piloted small-group brainstorming sessions for women inventors and will be expanding these sessions to other groups of underrepresented inventors. We’ll also create a mentorship program of women supporting women through the patent process. We’ll publicly share metrics on Facebook inventors that identify as female in the coming year.”
Facebook has made a number of public commitments to improve equality and representation in its workforce. It also provides regular updates via its website on its progress towards these goals. Diversity and Inclusion report.
Gender equality is a major focus for the company. most recent updateFacebook actually saw a decrease in the overall percentage of women working at the company over the past year (37% in 2020, compared to 36.7% for 2021).
Facebook did see a slight rise in female representation in its tech roles (24.88% vs 24.1%), but 2020 was clearly complicated by the pandemic. However, the numbers show that Facebook still has much to do to improve gender representation in general, despite its public promises.
Facebook is also noting that there has been real progress
“…It would be impossible to represent the different uses of our products around the globe without having diverse perspectives.
It is crucial that the company is held accountable for this element. It can be easy to listen to its wider commitments on such and assume that the company is making good progress.
While balance is essential, Facebook says it requires more diversity in its workforce.
These new elements will hopefully help strengthen that focus.