This week the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announced the appointment of Ximena Hartsock, a native of Chile, and co-founder of the D.C. based startup, Phone2Action to the Board of Industry Leaders.
LATISM commends CEA, Chairman Daniel Pidgeon and CEO Gary Shapiro for their commitment to diversity and inclusion in influential positions. We applaud the selection of a prominent tech startup Latina that brings uniqueness to the table. It is a step in the right direction to help steer the country forward.
In the U.S. “women make up 17 percent of the corporate board members among Fortune 500 companies.” The numbers do not tell a good story for women of color either. Women of color represent only 3.2 percent of board seats of Fortune 500 companies. If we break it down by race/ethnicity, only 0.8 percent of black women and 1.2 percent of Hispanic women serve on Fortune 500 boards.
The vast underrepresentation is also evident in the number female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Women – regardless of ethnicity – make up nearly half of the labor force, yet only 4.6 percent of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are females.
Despite heightened awareness about the inequities in corporate boards, we still see limited action to include women of color in these positions.
CEA’s action sends a powerful message about the value of inclusion.
But, Hartsock’s appointment to the Board of Industry Leaders means much more.
New findings by Pew Research revealed that Latinos are the fastest adopters of mobile technology and are active participants in new media – 71 percent of Latino adults own a smartphone compared to 61 percent of white adults.
This makes Latinos the leading force of smartphone consumption in the U.S.
Given the significant role that Hispanics play in today’s digital global economy, it is crucial to incentivize the minority pipeline to become the next generation of innovators and tech producers not just consumers of technology.
Newfound opportunities for Hispanics abound. It is projected that the U.S. Hispanic population will account for 40 percent of employment growth over the next ten years and demands in STEM fields are projected to add as many as 1 million jobs by 2022.
STEM is the second-fastest growing occupation industry, but an area where women and minorities are also desperately lacking. Minority participation in STEM fields must become a national imperative, not just for Latinos but for the sake of our economy and global competitiveness.
Hispanics, as the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, are uniquely poised to revolutionize the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
We applaud CEA for embracing the power of diversity. It is a step in the right direction, especially in a time when the U.S. population is undergoing a demographic transition.
We can no longer deprive our nation of the benefits the minority talent has to offer. It is time to treat the lack of diversity and inclusion like the urgency it is and not like the “inevitable norm.”
Wendy Rivera (@WendyRivera_esq)