After much pressure, Twitter releases its diversity figures

SAN FRANCISCO (USA TODAY) -- After weeks of pressure from civil rights advocates to release the gender and ethnic breakdown of its employees, Twitter finally posted its numbers Wednesday.

They were just as skewed as the other large technology companies in Silicon Valley that have disclosed their staff makeup in the past two months..

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. Whites and Asians make up 92% of Twitter's tech staff.

"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 over 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.

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," said Jackson. "African Americans represent money, market, talent and location. No one should be locked out, when everyone is "in" everyone wins."



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