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White men make up two thirds of Forbes 30 under 30 tech lists

There are a lot more talented white men than any
other demographic group, if Forbes’ annual 30
Under 30 lists ( http://
http://www.forbes.com/30under30/#/ ) are to be
believed. The lists aim to identify “young
disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs who are
transforming our world,” according to a Forbes
press release ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/
forbespr/2015/01/05/forbes-the-30-under-30-
list/ ) .
This year there were 20 lists covering a
wide range of industries including entertainment,
sports, music, science, healthcare, and technology.
One major thing stuck out across the majority of
the lists: the dominance of white males,
particularly in technology.
So we conducted a very
unscientific analysis of the magazine’s lists. If
a person’s race or ethnicity was not declared in
the list or otherwise on a social media profile or
online in a news story, Quartz made a judgment
based on names and photos. People who were of
more than two minority races (i.e. Korean and
black, but not black and white), as well as the
people whose race or ethnicity we were not
able to reasonably deduce, were categorized as
“Other/unknown.” While it’s possible that we may
have mislabeled people, the numbers undoubtedly
demonstrate the Forbes judges think that young
white men are worthy of the lion’s share of
professional attention.

Of the entire 682 names that were featured, 305—
45%—were white men, making them
overrepresented compared to their share of the US
population ( http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/
tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?
src=bkmk ) , which was about 31% by 2013
estimates. Asians, including South Asians and
Pacific Islanders, were also overrepresented. (It
should be noted that most but not everyone on the Forbes list is American.)

Overall on the Forbes list, two thirds of those
honored were men and one third women.
https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/how-
diverse-is-forbes-30-under-30-compared-to-the-
us-forbes-30-under-30-us-
population-2013_chartbuilder.png

For the purposes of this analysis, those of Middle
Eastern descent were not categorized as white (as
they are in the US Census) and South Americans
were categorized as Hispanic/Latino. Forbes
released some demographic data on the group,
such as education level and debt, but told Quartz
they did not have data for gender and race/
ethnicity.

The most stark deficiencies in the Forbes lists
were of black or African American people and
Hispanic or Latino people, who make up 17% of
the US ( http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/
states/00000.html ) but only 4% of the lists.
According to an email from Forbes spokeswoman
Wendy Egan, “Diversity wasn’t a criteria, but it
was important to cover the scope of each category
in all its different facets so it was a representative
group.”

That technology and finance are male-dominated
fields was readily apparent. Here’s what
technology’s finest (combining the lists of
consumer tech and enterprise tech) look like,
according to Forbes:

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
forbes-30-under-30-consumer-and-enterprise-
technologies_chartbuilder-1.png

Of the 77 people, 69 are men; 52 are white men.
The racial makeup is pretty stark too:
https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/the-
diversity-of-forbes-30-under-30-technology-
picks-consumer-and-enterprise-technology-
lists_chartbuilder.png

Some of the technology sector has recognized its
shortcomings in diversity lately, with companies
from Google to Microsoft releasing their internal
demographics. Of the eight major companies
whose numbers the Wall Street Journal analyzed (
http://graphics.wsj.com/diversity-in-tech-
companies/ ) , no more than 24% of technology
employees (that was at Ebay) were women.
Twitter has 10% female tech employees, which is the same as the Forbes list. The Forbes
technology list is whiter than the companies the
Journal polled—73% white on the Forbes list
compared to no more than 60%.

Lists like the Forbes 30 under 30 risks
homogenizing industries even more and can
perpetuate the idea that the best ideas are coming
from one group of people. In turn, those people are
given more recognition and opportunities and a
cycle of inequality continues. Forbes, for example,
hosts a conference ( http://www.forbes.com/
conferences/2014/under30-2014.html ) for 30
Under 30 picks, complete with mentors and “’Shark
Tank’-style pitches in front of the world’s top
venture capitalists.”

Author : Sonali Kohli

source : URL : http://qz.com/324394/white-men-
make-up-two-thirds-of-forbes-30-under-30-tech-
lists/

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