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Communications of the ACM


Bias in Technology

Bias in Technology, illustrative photo

Organizations like are working to expand access to computer science and increase participation by women and underrepresented students of color.


The technology world has a diversity problem. A recent U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report found that the high-tech industry employed far fewer African-Americans, Hispanics, and women, relative to whites, Asian-Americans, and men. The difference is especially glaring in Silicon Valley. At Google and Facebook, African-Americans represent just 1% of the tech work force. The numbers are slightly higher at some other leading technology firms, but still are hardly reflective of society at large.

In academia, the figures are also discouraging. According to the 2015 Taulbee Survey, conducted by the Computing Research Association, African-Americans represented only 4.6% of the students awarded bachelor's degrees in computer science (CS). Women represented 15.7% of the surveyed population, but this is a significant decrease from 1984–1985, when the National Center for Education Statistics found that women made up 37% of CS undergraduates.


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