Facebook’s F8 developers conference will be more diverse than last year

Ahead of Facebook’s annual developers conference, F8, Facebook shared the demographic makeup of this year’s expected attendees exclusively with TechCrunch.

Of the people who chose to disclose, 28.7% self-identified as women (a 4.9% increase from last year) and 19.3% self-identified as underrepresented ethnicities in tech (black, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander), representing a 5.6% increase from last year.

For the second year in a row, Facebook has also donated $250,000 worth of F8 proceeds to fund a scholarship program for underrepresented people in tech. This year, Facebook has donated some of the proceeds from F8 to Hack Reactor’s Telegraph Track for underrepresented engineers.

“The F8 donation will fuel the expansion of Telegraph track as we plan to award full-tuition scholarships to 14 underrepresented engineers looking to join our Telegraph Track community,” Hack Reactor ‎Director of Diversity and Inclusion Albrey Brown told TechCrunch in an email.

Last year, Facebook donated the money to Dev Bootcamp to fund scholarships for 20 people of color and/or women to participate in the 19-week program.

“F8, in and of itself, is a cross-section not just of Facebook, but of the industry as a whole,” Facebook Diversity Business Partner Kiva Wilson told TechCrunch.

Wilson went on to say that the upward trend in diverse representation at F8 is one Facebook works hard for, and “frankly, is exciting and provides a bit more encouragement.”

Facebook first started collecting the demographic makeup of its F8 attendees in 2015. That’s because tech conferences, including this publication’s beloved Disrupt, are notoriously dominated by male attendees.

Compared to Facebook’s employee demographics, its conference for developers is more racially diverse but not more diverse when it comes to gender. Underrepresented racial minorities make up just 10% of Facebook’s employee base in the U.S., while they make up 19.3% of attendees at F8. Facebook is 33% female, while F8 attendees are just 28.7% female.

Regarding speakers at F8, Wilson wouldn’t disclose the demographics or names, but said attendees will be able to notice an improvement this year compared to last year.

“I am a full proponent and believer in the concept that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Wilson said.