Speaking at the PBWC Conference in San Francisco today, Hillary Clinton called on Silicon Valley to improve diversity and inclusion, particularly by introducing paid parental leave policies. Clinton mentioned Uber and its recent sexual harassment scandal as an example of a company struggling with inclusion, and cited Salesforce as a company making positive strides on equal pay.
“It’s a cruel irony that stereotypes and bias run rampant at companies that pride themselves at being forward-thinking,” Clinton said. “For some women the hostility is even more direct, like the Uber engineer who spoke out about her experiences with sexual harassment.”
Clinton was referencing the experience of Susan Fowler Rigetti, a former software engineer at Uber whose blog post about harassment at the company went viral last month, prompting CEO Travis Kalanick to seek leadership help and to release the company’s first-ever diversity report.
“These are not buzzwords to throw around or boxes to check,” Clinton said. “A crucial part of solving these problems is recognizing that, important as it is, corporate feminism is no substitute for inclusive concrete solutions that improve life for women everywhere.”
Clinton had kinder words for Salesforce and the Gap, which she said are both “making real commitments to employees” on equal pay and paid family leave.
Of Silicon Valley, she added, “You have the tools and the creativity to take on problems like implicit bias and make the case for those in elected office to follow suit.”