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Women in Astronomy

Funding diversity efforts

17 Jun 2015, 19:00 UTC
Funding diversity efforts
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Last year several major tech companies released data revealing their lack of workplace diversity compared with the general population. This year three of the best-known companies have committed substantial funding to increasing the numbers and success of women and underrepresented minorities in their firms and in the industry as a whole. This is a major experiment worth following by the astronomy community. Not only do the tech companies employ many people who started in astronomy, but those of us in academia can learn from what works in an industry with similar challenges to our own.Intel is a standout. In January they announced $300M for engineering scholarships and for support historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In June they announced the creation of a $125M venture fund to support startups led by women and minorities. As the Intel Capital VP explained, this is a wise investment: private firms led by women do better than those led by men, yet 98% of venture capital funding goes to firms led by men. These investments are nearly 1% of Intel's total revenue in 2014 ($425M of $55.9B). Although they are not annual investments, Intel aims to make an impact in its own hiring over ...

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