When it comes to creating problem-solving apps, Silicon Valley has the solutions. But when it comes to diversity, Silicon Valley has a stubborn problem of its own.
Yahoo (YHOO) has become the latest technology firm to release statistics on its workforce diversity, and the picture it paints is one that's mostly white and male. The data comes on the heels of Google (GOOG) and LinkedIn's (LNKD) disclosures that their workers are also predominantly white and male.
Yahoo, though, has the distinction of having Marissa Mayer at its helm, one of the most visible female executives in Silicon Valley. But despite her leadership, the company remains largely male, with only 37 percent of its employees female, according to a blog post from chief development officer Jackie Reses. Half of its staff is white, with only 2 percent black and 4 percent Hispanic. Roughly 39 percent of its employees are Asian.
"These statistics are only a part of the story," Reses wrote. "Yahoo works to ensure that our existing employees feel welcome and supported during their time at the company."
Still, when it comes to leadership in technology departments, only 15 percent of executives were women. Outside of technology, 52 percent of Yahoo's leadership was female.
The disclosures come after some criticized both Silicon Valley's lack of diversity and disclosures about gender and racial breakdowns. When CNNMoney tried to dig into diversity in the tech industry, it claimed that "most of the companies stonewalled us."
So what's the solution to getting more women and minorities employed in Silicon Valley? Some have suggested the problem starts early on, with fewer women and minorities enrolling in computer science programs in college.
"There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities," wrote Google senior vice president Laszlo Bock in the company's blog post about diversity. "For example, women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics each make up under 10 percent of U.S. college grads and each collect fewer than 10 percent of degrees in CS majors."
While more women are graduating from college and now complete more bachelor's degrees than men, there's one area of study where the share of women has actually declined: Computer science, Fast Company notes. While about one-third of computer-science graduates were women in the 1970s and 1980s, that's fallen to less than 20 percent today.
Biases still exist, Amy Yin, told the Harvard Gazette earlier this year.
"The biases may be more subtle now, but the statistics are not. When I interned at Facebook last summer, I was the only woman on a team of 12," Yin told the publication. She's concentrating in computer science and co-founded Harvard Women in Computer Science. "There's a saying that 'If you can't see it, you can't be it,' which is why we wanted to develop a community of women in computer science."