Our vision for DEI
At Code for America we are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both our workplace and in our work. We believe that we must serve all Americans in our country’s glorious diversity, starting with the most vulnerable populations. We acknowledge that if, in our efforts, we are working to fix the implementation of unjust systems, we must address deep inequities threaded into our country’s history and work toward more equitable outcomes for the people we serve. We build for Inclusion and Equity in our policies and practices for our employees. With our DEI work, we strive to be a leader in the civic tech and tech ecosystems.
Defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition of diversity that also includes mission-relevant experience, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language(s) spoken, and physical appearance. We also recognize that individuals affiliate with multiple identities.
Equity is fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. In order to improve equity, we must increase justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society. This is integral to Code for America’s mission.
Inclusive environments are places in which any individual or group is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and able to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming culture embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people, and fosters a diversity of thought, ideas, perspectives, and values.
Building a diverse workforce
While diversity has always been important to our organization, last year we added structure to Code for America’s commitment to hiring a diverse workforce so that we could continue to grow the organization in a manner consistent with our values. Building a diverse workforce and ensuring an inclusive culture has no endpoint; it is the constant work of running an organization that strives to reach its full potential.
The racial and ethnic makeup of our team is very closely aligned with that of the country we serve, with 40% of our team identifying as people of color, as compared to 39% in the last US census.
Code for America is a women-led organization, and women are a majority at all levels of the organization and the board.
While women and people of color are often seriously underrepresented in technical organizations, 47.1% of our Engineering team members identify as women or non-binary, and 29.4% as people of color.
Code for America is a majority-women organization. At Code for America, we are organized into three departments: Programs, Operations, and Product & Technology. We have elected to break out our numbers somewhat differently, however, to highlight engineering specifically as an area where people of color, women, and non-binary people are typically quite underrepresented.
We’re proud of our progress in building a diverse engineering team over the past year, a time in which we have grown our staff from 5 to 17 engineers, 47.1% of whom identify as women or non-binary.
Code for America is also a women-led organization. Women make up 75% of leadership (Directors and above), 66% of the executive team, and 57% of our board.
Race and ethnicity
Overall, 40% of our workforce identify as people of color, compared to 39% in the national census and 63% in the Bay Area, and ranging by department from 30% in Engineering to 50% in Product & Design.
Our biggest gap as compared to US census benchmarks is in our Latinx representation, where we are overall 6.5 percentage points below the national average. Compared to Bay Area demographics, our Asian representation is most disparate, given 28% of Bay Area residents identify as Asian compared to 6% nationally and 8.2% at Code for America.
Our biggest opportunity for improvement is to grow representation of minority groups at the most senior levels of the organization. Amongst our Junior and Intermediate employees, who typically have 0-5 years of work experience and are not in people management roles, 47.8% identify as people of color.
At Senior levels, where employees typically have greater than 5 years of experience and are either senior individual contributors or people managers, 42.3% identify as people of color. However, only 16.6% of leadership in Director positions and above identify as people of color.
The strong representation we see at Junior, Intermediate, and Senior levels in the organization is a reflection of the investment we’ve made in recruiting and hiring of underrepresented groups, including this year’s apprenticeship program.
Improving representation at the leadership level is a clear opportunity, and in 2019 we plan to invest in retaining and growing our Junior, Intermediate, and Senior staff while also hiring underrepresented candidates directly into leadership roles.
People experience bias and disadvantage in different ways based on the intersection of their various social identities. We strive to understand and provide transparency into the representation of these intersectional identities at Code for America. Because we are a majority-women organization, representation of those intersectional identities is more in line with the national average than it is for men at Code for America. In mapping our staff demographics this way, we see opportunities to be more representative of both the Bay Area and the nation going forward.
The Diversity & Inclusion Report
Code for America publishes an annual report that we use as a benchmark for our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are committed to not only building a diverse workforce, but to being transparent about our efforts to do so. The report outlines our investments in DEI work, key learnings, and next steps for the year ahead.
Read the 2018 report