INNOVATE2016: Freada Kapor Klein on fixing tech’s gender problem

Few Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or activists are more committed to hiring more women and minorities in tech than Freada Kapor Klein

A partner at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Kapor Klein is also a founding member of Project Include, a network of mostly female engineers set up by Ellen Pao to enable Silicon Valley companies to become more diverse.

Inclusion – or what she calls “closing the gap” – is win-win for tech companies, Kapor Klein insists. Companies that focus on diversity will succeed, she says, because hiring women and minorities makes business sense. But it’s not easy, she warns. Scientific research, she insists, is showing that our brains are hardwired to be biased.

Thus the claims by some prominent venture capitalists that Silicon Valley is a genuine meritocracy, are actually proof of unintentional bias. Inclusion, therefore, needs to be “baked into” start-ups, she says. It need to be part of a company’s DNA.

While Kapor Klein is hopeful about Silicon Valley solving its woman problem, she’s less optimistic about the Presidential election. It’s “frustrating at best”, Kapor Klein says, with diplomatic restraint, about the sexist tenor of the election.

As always, many thanks to the folks at CALinnovates for their help in the production of this interview.