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Facebook wants to double the number of women in its workforce

Facebook on Tuesday published its sixth-annual diversity report, showing that the company has made only modest gains in its ambitions to bring more people from “traditionally underrepresented groups” into its workforce.

“Since 2014, when our strategic efforts began, we’ve made some progress increasing the number of people from traditionally underrepresented groups employed at Facebook but we recognize that we need to do more,” Facebook says in its report.

The report reveals that the company, globally, is 63.1% male and 36.9% female, only slightly changed from the 63.7% male and 36.3% female workforce that it reported last year. In technical roles, that changes to 77% male and 23% female, whereas last year, it was 78.4% and 21.6%. Among senior leadership, it’s 67.4% male, down from 70% last year.

As for ethnicity data, Facebook only breaks out its stats for the US. Across its American operations, Facebook says, its workforce is 44.2% white, 43% Asian, 5.2% Hispanic, and 3.8% Black, with 3.1% of its employees reporting being from two or more backgrounds, and 0.7% marked down as “other.”

By comparison, last year, Facebook said that its US workforce was 46.6% white, 41.4% Asian, 4.9% Hispanic, and 3.5% Black, with 3% reporting two or more, and 0.6% reporting as “other.”

Despite these relatively small changes, Facebook touts that it’s been moving in the right direction, with more women and people from underrepresented groups joining its technical organizations, and more women joining the ranks of leadership by being promoted from within.

“Since 2014, we have increased the number of Black women at Facebook by 25X and the number of Black men by 10X,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “And importantly, even as we have grown, we have worked very hard on making Facebook a more welcoming, respectful workplace.”

Even so, Facebook says, it’s setting itself an ambitious diversity goal, according to the blog post:

“We envision a company where in the next five years, at least 50% of our workforce will be women, people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, people with two or more ethnicities, people with disabilities, and veterans. In doing this, we aim to double our number of women globally and Black and Hispanic employees in the US. It will be a company that reflects and better serves the people on our platforms, services and products. It will be a more welcoming community advancing our mission and living up to the responsibility that comes with it.”

Facebook describes these goals as “ambitious” and “incredibly important” in the blog entry, and key to creating “accountability.”

Given the modest movement in its diversity report thus far, Facebook does seem to have its work cut out for it — but, given the recent string of scandals that’s plagued the social network, any movement towards positive change will likely seem a welcome one to its users, advertising customers, and perhaps even its employees.

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