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After Controversial Frat-Themed Party, Twitter Says It Will Make Diversity A Priority

It’s about time. Like others in the tech industry, Twitter has long faced issues of gender inequality and racial homogeneity.

After Controversial Frat-Themed Party, Twitter Says It Will Make Diversity A Priority
[Photo: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski]

Twitter came under fire last Tuesday when its revenue team threw a frat party-themed happy hour, complete with beer pong, red Solo cups, and a Greek alphabet-inspired sign that read “Twitter Frat House.” Since Twitter is currently weathering a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by a former employee, the party was ill-advised, to say the least–but more importantly, it hit too close to home given the male-dominated landscape of Silicon Valley.

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“This social event organized by one team was in poor taste at best, and not reflective of the culture we are building here at Twitter,” a Twitter spokesman told Fusion in a statement. “We’ve had discussions internally with the organizing team, and they recognize that this theme was ill-chosen.”

For a tech company like Twitter–which, much like its peers in the industry, has a poor track record of gender and racial inclusion–the lapse in judgment simply drove home the point that diversity needs to be better addressed.

Re/code reports that, at an all-hands meeting on Thursday, an employee wondered aloud why diversity wasn’t treated as a “company-wide goal.” Interim CEO Jack Dorsey noted that it would be going forward, despite the fact that Twitter has not previously mandated that all teams focus on diversifying the company as a whole, according to Re/code:

While Twitter teams are required to set goals each quarter known as OKRs, an acronym that stands for “objectives and key results,” diversity-specific OKRs have never been company-wide and they’ve never been mandatory. Apparently, if Dorsey follows through with his message, they soon will be.

It is unclear what tangible steps the company will take to tackle this shortcoming–but it certainly has a long way to go. When Twitter embraced transparency last summer and made its diversity numbers public, it revealed that 70% of the company’s employees were male, and just 5% of its workforce was black or Latino. In the tech sector, things were even more bleak: 90% of workers were male, and a whopping 92% of tech employees were Asian or white.

These issues are by no means specific to Twitter: Facebook, Google, and other tech giants have also shown dismal diversity numbers in the past year.

[via Re/code]

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About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.

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