How Project Include is working to attract more women, diversity to tech

A group of women leaders in tech are banding together to develop and promote diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies, which are often criticized for their lack of diversity.

Women leaders such as Ellen Pao, who brought to light gender issues in tech during her public courtroom battle with former employer Kleiner Perkins, and Erica Baker, a former Google engineer who made a spreadsheet listing employees' salaries to expose pay inequalities, launched Project Include to help companies actively promote inclusion.

"Research has quantified the financial benefits of racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Despite this, we have yet to see significant improvement in diversity numbers," according to Project Include's website.

Project Include offers solutions and recommendations for company leadership to use to accelerate diversity and inclusion. The solutions are sorted into seven categories, including defining culture, employee lifecycle, training, resolving conflicts and measuring progress.

The project focuses on solutions for startups employing between 25 and 1,000 workers, as targeting these companies in their earlier stages may help integrate equality efforts sooner, reports The New York Times.

"If companies start early with diversity and inclusion, they don't have to bolt it on later, which is much harder," Ms. Baker told NYT.

Project Include seeks to gather a first cohort of 18 companies that will define and track metrics on diversity and inclusion. It will then publish anonymized results to show if participants have made progress regarding diversity.    

"It's taking a page out of open-source software," Kate Mitchell, managing director at venture capital firm Scale Venture Partners who is working with Project Include, told NYT. "You measure, you try things, you iterate and then you build on top of each other's ideas and make your companies even better.

More articles on diversity in tech:

Help wanted: More women innovators in healthcare 
The 10 most diverse hospitals and health systems 
Why America's corporate gender gap isn't improving: 9 findings on gender disparity and how leaders can bridge the divide 

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