Indiegogo & Pandora Have More Female Employees Than Most Tech Companies


Tech is an area that is sorely lacking diversity. When Google first released their diversity report in May 2014, other major Silicon Valle luminaries decided to follow suit, including Facebook, Yahoo and Linkedin. The sad thing was that across the board, most of those companies similarly found they had much work to do in the diversity department. The majority of employees are young white or Asian males.

The aforementioned companies reported having between 30-39% of females on their staff, and even less in leadership and specifically tech positions (10-15% on average). Sheryl Sandberg, in a recent interview, spoke of the need to have more females at Facebook alone, and expressed her wish to see half of the staff made up of women.

Now that the big guns have released their company’s details, other tech brands have also released information and what we are finding is some surprising data. Silicon Beat reported that Indiegogo, the largest crowd-funding platform (which was co-founded by a woman, FYI), boasts an impressive 43% of women in leadership positions, and 33% in tech positions. The company has just over 100 employees in total currently and their overall percentage of female employees across the board is 45%.

“At its core, Indiegogo exists to promote equality of opportunity,” Indiegogo Co-founder Danae Ringelmann wrote in a company blog post. “And so far, we’re on track to achieve this vision.”

“Indiegogo exists to promote equality of opportunity. And so far, we’re on track to achieve this vision. For example, fewer than 15% of venture-backed companies have a female founder. On Indiegogo, 47% of campaigns that reach their funding target are run by women.

“Our commitment to diversity applies both externally and internally. Just as we help campaigners and contributors connect to bring a diversity of ideas from around the world to life, we also strive to recruit and retain employees who bring a collection of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences to the day-to-day culture at Indiegogo.”

Here are a couple of infographs she also included in the blog post:



But it doesn’t end at Indiegogo, ladies. Here’s another tech co. also boasting an impressive percentage of female employees: Pandora. Yep! The Verge reported that everyone’s favorite ongoing music playlist app overall has 49.2% female employees to 50.8% male. The Verge points out in comparison that both Apple and Twitter boast a 70/30 ratio of male to female. Now that there is growing trend in tech to release details of diversity to the public as a form of user accountability, it is no wonder Apple decided to include a page on their website listing their Vice Presidents, which include two women. Hey it’s a start, but they have a hell of a lot of catching up to do!

Here’s the infograph Pandora released which also included details of different ethnicities:


The only downside to Pandora is that when it comes to their ethnic diversity, they actually fare much worse than companies like Twitter and Facebook, as you can see in this infograph. What we can conclude is that every major tech company has areas they need to work on when it comes to diversifying their staff.

Pandora founder Tim Westegren wrote a blog post in relation to this issue, using the analogy of music being diverse as a reason for them to be the same when it comes to their staff.

“We find ourselves asking are we as inclusive and welcoming inside our four walls as we are for listeners? Do we honor and celebrate our differences? What is it like to be a woman, an African American or a gay employee at Pandora? When it comes to diversity, music is unique in its universality. It knows no ethnic or socio-economic divisions. Its beauty lies simply in the ear of the beholder. The same should be said about people.”

“The diversity of our audience and artists are a great benchmark for us to use as we evaluate our own company. And it’s clear there’s work to be done.” He says they want to reflect their community of listeners by attacking three key areas: leadership, skills and opportunities and ensure diversity is being addressed.

Getting away from the US for a moment, because there is a tech company in China threatening to show up the entire Silicon Valley industry. The Chicago Tribune reports that e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding boasts 9 females among a total 27 partners including the roles of Chief Financial Officer, and Chief People Officer.


“That’s triple the ratio of women in board seats and senior executive roles at the largest companies in California,” they report.

The Tribune says Alibaba certainly takes Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” directive to heart and is showing other tech companies how it works.

“From very early on, the founder has established a diverse team and that became part of the DNA of the organization,” said Caroline Simard, research director at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. “Thirty percent would catch our eye. In any company in high-tech in the U.S., that would be a very high representation of women.”

Alibaba, which is about to go public, also has 6 women on its board and has an emphasis on creating a diverse environment for both male and female employees. They have internal chat groups where they discuss issues like maternity and parenting, and they also hold regular family events like picnics and karaoke to help the husbands and children also feel supported by the company.

One of the things the Tribune points out about why this Chinese company fares better in the diversity stakes is thanks to the Communist Party, which has actively promoted gender equality in the workplace.

“In an acknowledgment of their importance, Mao Zedong famously proclaimed that women ‘hold up half the sky’.”

If the company does go public and increases their presence among shareholders in the US, it will mean Silicon Valley needs to up their game to compete with this tech giant. But hey, that’s a good thing!


Over in Boston two female employees from adtech company Visible Measures have collaborated on a new website dedicated to engaging more women in the tech field. Katrina Melesciuc and  Tara Chang created Women’s iLab which is all about encouraging innovative ideas from women and creating a platform where they can inspire each other and get advice in a non-threatening environment. It’s kinda genius, and these are the kind of initiatives we need to see more of in the tech industry which will organically produce diversity.

““We want it to be a platform for women, where anyone can contribute and talk about their passions and personal interests. … The question was, ‘How do we get young women to strengthen their voice in the market and share their perspectives?’” said Tara Chang in an interview with BostInno recently.

Diversity has to come from within, and it has to reflect the community and users of the tech we are so used to everyday. These reports create public accountability and in turn will hopefully force companies to recognize how much they can benefit from having more than just white and Asian males.



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