is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
This visualization of the disparity in male and female engineers employed at roughly one-hundred fifty tech companies is unsurprising but astonishing nevertheless. Whether the companies are large or small or young or old, the split tends to look something like this:
Less than one in ten companies can claim that even a third of their engineers are women. That’s pretty stark.
I don’t mean to point fingers here, because this is one of our biggest problems at Wildcard, and almost every organization I’ve been involved with has struggled in this arena. Even Etsy, which I personally witnessed putting tremendous effort into re-balancing this equation, managed only to barely outdo the survey’s average.
Problems as endemic as this are unlikely to change overnight, and it’s important to remain vigilant in the campaigns to solve them. But I think this chart illustrates a bigger, more damning point: the tech industry is not egalitarian in the least, in spite of how enlightened it believes itself to be. It may (or may not) be true that it’s populated by a greater number of people who believe strongly in gender equality and similar issues than other industries, but in the overarching trend of how tech companies are conducting themselves, the arc of history is bending towards inequality. We’re failing this test.+