- Last year, a Facebook engineer gathered internal data on code processes that allegedly revealed that code written by women was rejected 35% more often than code written by their male counterparts, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- The results caused an uproar within the company, prompting Facebook officials to investigate the study. Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of infrastructure, eventually said that those rejection gaps were created due to rank, rather than gender. Notably, the Journal could not independently verify either analysis when recently revealed.
- Facebook called the engineer's data gathering "incomplete and inaccurate," the Journal reports, though the company also noted that there weren't enough women in senior engineering positions.
The gender imbalance within Silicon Valley strikes again — though this is a good example of the complexity of gender parity at work and what it truly means to have equality in the workplace.
Inequity of access starts early. Especially in the tech field, complex culture problems impede efforts to improve diverse hiring, as women are both pushed away from applying or pushed out of companies due to inherent issues.
Even once they are hired and retained, women tend to be passed over for early promotions in favor of male counterparts, and men are generally promoted more often at all levels compared to women. Some of this could be explained by inherent biases that largely hold that men are better leaders of high-stakes projects than women, meaning some serious anti-bias education may be needed in some industries.
The problem is that solving such a complex problem requires equally complex solutions and support from company leadership at every level. Employers can sponsor employee resource groups to give employees of diverse backgrounds a voice and can foster dialogue and instill transparency through data gathering and analysis to ensure gender inequity isn't holding anyone back. Solving parity issues of any kind must be a top-down initiative that includes the voices of those on the ground floor and the support of those in upper echelons.