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July 23, 2014

USA Today Front Page:  After much pressure, Twitter releases its diversity figures

After much pressure, Twitter releases its diversity figures
SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter released its staff diversity figures Wednesday and the numbers are no more reflective of the U.S. labor market as other Silicon Valley giants -- with 90% of its tech staff male and 92% white or Asian. The release came after weeks of increasing pressure from civil rights advocates.

Overall, 59% of Twitter's staff in the United States are white, 29% Asian, 3% Hispanic and 2% Black.

Men make up 70% of all staff but 90% of the company's tech staff, according to figures posted by the company's vice president for diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse.

The figures were generally in line with other big tech companies have released over the past two months.

Yahoo, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn all have workforces that are between 62% and 70% male. Whites and Asians make up between 88% and 91% of employees.

Pressure: Rev. Jesse Jackson's push to get Twitter data

"The numbers are pathetic but this is a step in the right direction," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

His Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the civil rights organization have been using Twitter itself as a way to press the San Francisco-based company to share demographic information about its work force and to host a public forum on how it plans to increase the diversity of its staff. They gathered more than 25,000 signatures on an online petition asking Twitter to release its data.

In her blog post, Van Huysse said the company knows it has a lot of work to do and that it makes good business sense for Twitter to have employees who are representative of the vast and varied backgrounds of its users around the world.

"But we want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of," she said.

Not reflective: Silicon Valley's tech companies skew male, white and Asian.

Jackson said Twitter was slow to divulge the numbers because they were so "shameful," especially given Twitter's vast number of minority users

The release shows the campaign on Twitter to get Twitter to release the information was successful. "Now they must set goals and timetables for equality," he said.

"There is no talent deficit, there's an opportunity deficit," Jackson said. "African Americans represent money, market, talent and location. No one should be locked out, when everyone is in, everyone wins."

Rashad Robinson, executive director of, called on Twitter to host a public forum that addresses the company's plans to recruit and retain more black employees.

"Twitter benefits a great deal from the creativity, energy and intelligence of black folks engaging on the platform both financially and in terms of popularity. Twitter's blog post recognizes that there is a problem and states a commitment to fixing it," Robinson said. "So we invite Twitter to work with ColorOfChange and our allies."

"We are going to come back out there real soon and begin to convene Silicon Valley companies to work out a plan with them to achieve inclusion," he said.