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Freada Kapor Klein: “Diversity” Isn’t Just Gender; “Women” Aren’t Just White

Dec 18, 2014 by Kapor Capital

Several years ago, I interviewed a young STEM-focused African-American student, “Anita,” for a scholarship program. Anita was the first in her family to pursue college, and when I asked what propelled her through her difficult Advanced Placement courses while caring for younger siblings and jugging part-time jobs in Oakland, she revealed a teacher’s comment that cut her to the core but ironically spurred her forward. He’d told her that she wasn’t college material and was likely to end up a prostitute like the other girls from her neighborhood.

In all the recent discussion about Silicon Valley’s “man problem,” too little attention has been given to the specific experiences of women such as Anita. Diversity seems to only apply to the affluent white women who attended the same schools and share social networks with the male founders. That’s a huge problem…