To what extent has a lack of diversity influenced the development of the internet? Ho does this lack of diversity harm societies and individuals ?

Reflections on the lack of diversity in the high-tech workplace


“technology meets tactile” by Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

As an increasing number of users from all over the world use the Internet, a variety of problems inevitably arise and the lack of diversity has become one of the most serious issues affecting the development of the Internet. Diversity can be understood as the existence of differences, such as race, gender, ability. In this article, the lack of diversity in internet or technology industry which includes the phenomena, causes, and implications for the development of the Internet as well as for society or individuals are discussed.


Lack of gender diversity

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James Damore, a 28-year-old former Google engineer who was fired from the company for allegedly “perpetuating gender stereotypes” (Browne, 2017)  With the development of the internet, the technician community is becoming increasingly homogeneous, as evidenced by the increasing number of men and the decline in the proportion of women. While the majority of Google employees worldwide are over 66% male as of July 2021, the percentage of female employees at Google in 2021 is 33.7%, only a 3% increase from 2014. (Statista, 2022)

Lack of racial diversity

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This lack of diversity is not only a problem of gender, but also of race, and ability (disability), with white heterosexual men dominating the numbers and positions in most high-tech companies. For minorities and people of colour, the most common race of employees at Google is white (50%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (18%) and Asian (18%) (Zippia, 2022)

In addition, Reuters reported on Friday that a lawsuit had been filed alleging that Google “systematically racially biases black employees” and that the company “steers them into lower-level jobs, pays them less and denies them opportunities for advancement because of their race. ”

April Currie, a previous diversity recruitment officer at Google and a complainant in the case, accused the searching behemoth of “subjecting black employees to a particularly hostile work environment, including by routinely demanding identification or being interrogated by security guards at its Mountain View, California campus. .” According to legal documents, “Blacks represent only 4.4% of the workforce, or about 3% of the leadership and its skilled workforce.” (Kelly, 2022)

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What has led to a reduction in diversity?

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One of the most significant reasons is the creation and perpetuation of stereotypes, which arise when judgements are predicated on category membership, including gender, not on assessments of individual qualities.

In the case of gender stereotypes, society and culture have expectations about the behaviour of a specific gender, which include appropriate occupational characters. For instance, while men are considered to have a high level of agency and are being defined as competitive and ambitious, being extremely communal and empathetic is a characteristic defined as feminine. A combination of physical characteristics and personality traits are both associated with gender stereotypes, and the application of gender stereotypes can result in prejudiced judgements and decisions. (Roberts, 2022)

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Therefore, in the majority of technology or internet industries where men are considerably more successful than women in obtaining positions of advancement and higher salaries. In contrast, with women of colour such as black females being more disadvantaged in the workplace than white females, they are more likely to be discriminated against.

Previous research has demonstrated that people react more negatively than men when women express anger because of the different expectations of the role of women. Whereas there is a growing sensitivity to black women expressing anger, the stereotype portrays black women as aggressive and antagonistic in their interactions with others.

The angry Black woman stereotype has the potential to negatively impact on Black women’s employment status and career development because anger is often undesirable in the workplace, although understanding the barriers black women face in the workplace is a complex issue, we identify the angry Black woman stereotype as one of multiple factors that may negatively impact their careers. (Motro et al., 2022)  Nevertheless this can indicate that black female group might meets with misunderstandings and unfair punishments due to the “angry image”, such as dismissal, or job demotion resulting in Black women being forced to resign because they are unwilling to continue working in a racially and sexually discriminatory workplace, which could also explain why diversity in the Internet industry is declining.

Whereas when a company with only a very limited number of black and brown people in leadership positions, then in terms of the company as a whole, the likelihood of minorities being sidelined and discriminated against at work increases. Moreover, according to some survey data from Google, when employees report not feeling included in the collective, they are more probably to leave.

“OECD Forum 2018 Talk Together – Addressing Violence Against Women: Work, Digital & Human Rights” by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Another common explanation for the lack of diversity in technology is the under-exposure of positive role models for under-represented groups. A study conducted previously this year by cyber security provider Kaspersky found that only 19 % of women who work in the technological industry are inspired by female role models to pursue their careers, compared to 38 % reporting that the lack of women in the industry makes them cautious to enter the workforce. (Hurst, 2021)

“It’s a complicated problem than just hiring a more diverse population; with education as well,” said Riki Goldreich, vice president of global human resources at Radware. (Hurst, 2021)

“The absence of role models is part of why there is still a dearth of diversity in technology. There needs to be positive role models to engage and motivate young people from disadvantaged groups from an early age, to therefore realise that technology is a real choice for their future and to understand the opportunities that are available to them. You can’t be the person you can’t see.” (Hurst, 2021)

To what extent does the lack of diversity affect the development of the Internet?

The lack of diversity can have a significant negative impact on the Internet industry and the development of the Internet, with technicians becoming more homogeneous and ideas becoming more homogeneous, leading to a lower rate of innovation in technology or products. Previous research has found that women can contribute to improved decision-making processes as their varied opinions and innovative perspectives can improve company performance (Terjesen et al., 2009 , as cited in Simionescu et al., 2021 )

In addition, women representation on boards increases perceptions of the legitimacy and reliability of the board, thereby increasing shareholder confidence in the firm. Dadanlar and Abebe (2020) suggested that women CEO-led companies have a low probability of discrimination lawsuits. (Dadanlar & Abebe, 2020 , as cited in Simionescu et al., 2021)

Moreover, the lack of diversity in the Internet industry can lead to an increasing incidence of racial or gender discrimination, whether conscious or unconscious neglect or discrimination. Because of the low participation of minorities or genders other than men, single races and genders cannot take into account and avoid possible offenses to others, such as inappropriate images or texts.

In other words, a lack of diversity can lead to a decrease in work performance and thus affect the interests of the Internet business. Since white men dominate the Internet technology industry, minorities and other genders may feel isolated or unable to integrate into the workforce, or their work may not be recognised and accepted by the dominant group. The result is that the minority group may feel frustrated with their work and may become less productive, which affects the overall performance and interests of the Internet industry. Overall performance and benefits of the Internet industry. Furthermore, as the technical staff of an organisation becomes more and more aligned that thinking and solving problems may become similar in direction, thus overlooking important operational or product issues, and when certain existing problems become increasingly porous and explode one day, the scale and severity of the problem can be devastating.

How does this lack of diversity harm society and individuals?

For society, the lack of diversity in the internet, technology and other workplaces can lead to a higher incidence of discrimination, which is detrimental to social stability and security. This can lead to outbreaks of mass marches, strikes , revenge crimes or injuries.

In particular, it has a negative impact on the values and social attitudes of teenagers, as a lack of diversity in the workplace can lead to gender and racial stereotypes being formed by adolescents who are still immature in their values. For example, if youths view through the media that technology presentations are predominantly white or male that can lead them to believe that the internet and technology industry belongs to white males.

“OECD Forum 2018 Talk Together – Addressing Violence Against Women: Work, Digital & Human Rights” by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

For individuals, the lack of diversity in the workplace and the resulting unfair treatment of ethnic and gender minorities in terms of low pay and lack of job promotion can make employees feel unacceptable to society and may lead to feelings of loss or mental illness such as depression. As well as these minority groups may suffer from financial pressures and be unable to afford to provide a better quality of material life and education for their children. The lack of a good education for children or young people or being forced to live in less secure neighbourhoods may have a negative impact on their thinking and behaviour, thus leading to a rise in the likelihood of juvenile delinquency.

Secondly, the lack of diversity in advanced industries can cause minority groups to feel inferior and lose their sense of national pride. When minorities or women realise that in contemporary society, several high-tech industries are dominated by white males and there is constant gender or racial discrimination that they may believe that their race and gender may not have been accepted in these fields in the first place, thus attributing the lack of diversity to race and gender.


In conclusion

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The fight against lack of diversity is a long game, which is systemic and requires a step-by-step approach to address stereotypes and for more courageous people to come forward. The effects of a lack of diversity include an increase in incidents of discrimination, reduced performance at work. As well as causing individuals to suffer from depression and financial stress, these are bad effects that need to be noted.



Reference List

Browne, R. (2017). Fired Google employee claims ‘lack of ideological diversity has hurt our products’. CNBC. Retrieved 10 October 2022, from products.html.

Google: employee gender distribution by department 2021 | Statista. Statista. (2022). Retrieved 10 October 2022, from

Google Number of Employees, Statistics, Diversity, Demographics, and Facts – Zippia. (2022). Retrieved 11 October 2022, from

Kelly, J. (2022). Accusations Made Against Google In Lawsuit Alleging Systemic Bias Against Black Employees. forbes. retrieved 11 October 2022, from https://www. sh=6bf04bc377c7.

Roberts, D. (2022). Gender stereotyping in public accounting: Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. Accounting History Review, 31(3), 315-334. 21552851.2022.2057560

Motro, D., Evans, J., Ellis, A., & Benson, L. (2022). Race and reactions to women’s expressions of anger at work: Examining the effects of the “angry Black woman” stereotype. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 107(1), 142-152.

Hurst, A. (2021). The top reasons why a lack of diversity in tech remains a problem. Information Age. Retrieved 12 October 2022, from

Simionescu, L., Gherghina, Ş., Tawil, H., & Sheikha, Z. (2021). Does board gender diversity affect firm performance? Empirical evidence from Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Sector. Financial Innovation, 7(1).

Simionescu, L., Gherghina, Ş., Tawil, H., & Sheikha, Z. (2021). Does board gender diversity affect firm performance? Empirical evidence from Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Sector. Financial Innovation, 7(1).