Apple’s investing $50 million to encourage women and ethnic minorities into tech

If you’ve ever watched an Apple event live stream or taken a look online at its top execs, you might have noticed that the company’s decision makers are predominantly white and male. In fact, its own diversity report, published last year, showed that 70% of Apple’s employees are men, while 55% are white. So it’s heartening to hear that the smart watch obsessives are about to invest $50 million (around £27m) to encourage a more diverse workforce.

As Engadget reports, Apple’s VP of Human Resources Denise Young Smith told Forbes that the company will be giving $40 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, for students attending historically black colleges and universities. This will create a computer science student database allowing Apple to reach out and offer students opportunities, including training, scholarships and paid internships.

An additional $10 million will go to America’s National Center for Women and Information Technology, in an attempt to double its support for women enrolled in STEM degrees there. Young Smith also told Forbes that Apple wants to encourage people of different backgrounds and sexual orientations to join the company, and that they’re looking into providing training to former members of the armed forces.

Considering the fact that recent research showed it’ll take 70 years to close the gender pay gap (and given that being a member of an ethnic minority or any other marginalised group also means you’re statistically likely to earn less), it’s a great precedent for Apple to set. Companies are going to need to do more than hire one high profile charismatic woman. They need start being proactive in order to have a more diverse workforce, making women and minorities feel welcome, encouraging them to apply for jobs and scholarships and making it possible for them to do so.

Let’s face it, it’s past time we saw a keynote from someone who isn’t a middle-aged white dude.

Image by Joe Ravi via Wikimedia Commons.

Diane Shipley