Saturday, October 23, 2021

Angela Hunte: Apology for Facebook whitewashing women

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Written by Amanda Kooser, CNN

Angela Hunte of Facebook woke up one morning last month to see an apology hanging in her open inbox. The email read: “Dear Friends, today I want to apologize for the lack of conversation on women in tech.”

It was a brief but powerful reflection on a topic that Facebook is all too happy to turn into an obscure topic when the topic actually matters. For Facebook, apologizing for a problematic practice rarely moves the needle. It’s about maintaining image.

But the apology struck Hunte as an important gesture, one that made a difficult moment a bit easier.

“It helped that it was brief, but I was very lucky to be given that platform,” she said. “It was important for me to respond in kind that Facebook cared enough to start talking about women’s representation in tech, and certainly on their platform.”

Hunte was among a group of women at Facebook who have shared their experiences with the role of men and women in tech with CNN over the past two years. We plan to follow up with the group to see how the conversation has evolved.

You might feel like she has less cause for complaint. Despite how much evidence Facebook and other companies like Google, Twitter and Snapchat tout the diversity of their teams and the level of gender parity, the gender gap is noticeable in the upper ranks. Over a third of the so-called “iron men” in executive and board roles are men.

Still, Hunte didn’t hesitate to respond to the apology email, and she has not yet received a follow-up.

“A lot of my group was deeply moved,” she said. “We hope that they listened.”

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