Earlier this week, Google fired engineer James Damore after he wrote a memo asserting that biological differences between men and women are responsible for the tech industry’s gender gap. The 10-page document, first reported by Motherboard, criticizes Google initiatives designed to increase gender and racial diversity.
Silicon Valley has always battled a diversity problem, but in recent years, it’s been getting extra attention. According to reports released by the largest tech companies in 2015, the stats are pretty dismal. Women hold only 18% of Google’s tech jobs. Only 1% of Twitter employees are black. At Facebook, barely 3% of workers are Hispanic.
Helena Price, a photographer who lives in San Francisco, captured this underrepresented slice of Silicon Valley in 2016. For her new project called “Techies,” she interviewed and took 100 portraits of coders, designers, and CEOs who work in tech and come from diverse backgrounds. It features an eclectic mix: women, people of color, immigrants, people without formal education, people over 5o, LGBTQ people, and the disabled.
She hopes to challenge stereotypes of those working in tech and encourage companies to hire and retain a more diverse workforce. All of the portraits are fair use.
“I created this with the hope people will take the content, digest it, tear it apart, analyze it, repurpose it, and build new things with it,” Price told Business Insider.
Take a look at the featured workers, including employees from Facebook, Google, and Apple.
Price posted a call for subjects in early 2016 and received over 500 applicants in a matter of days. After she narrowed the pool down to 100, she interviewed the subjects about their experiences working in Silicon Valley. Then, she took their portraits.
Many of her subjects reiterated similar sentiments, like the fact that a sense of belonging is tough when no one else looks like you.
“I have only met one other black female designer in tech in the past six years,” Tiffany Taylor, a self-taught web designer, told Price.
“When you come from poverty and you’re also gay, Cambodian, Mormon, and a refugee of war, there’s always an inherent isolation,” said Chanpory Rith, MixMax’s co-founder and a former Gmail designer.