We know that computers and technology in general can create a reality that before was thought of as pure fiction. But, can technology solve all our problems? Take diversity, for instance: as much as we have seen articles on the subject, and social media threads that hint at a growing change in the perception of the marketplace, there is still rampant discrimination alive and well in corporate America.
So, how can technology address this gap? While social media and articles are a good start, thanks to algorithms, they are most likely only being read by existing advocates for the cause (filter bubble, anyone?). Ironically, the thing that will create the most impact will be a natural leveling process.
The great equalizer of technology
The more our world is devoted to computers and technological innovation, the more we will see computer comprehension thinning out the workforce. It stands to reason that the more technologically savvy a person can be, the more valuable a worker they will become—regardless of race or gender. After all, we live in an increasingly global world, right?
Technology has always had a mystical quality to it—performing tasks we never intended for it to perform. We can see it playing out in the seemingly random health benefits that have been cropping up across wearables like the iWatch as well as in newer A.I. devices. And we can imagine that this same side-effect will occur with the workplace.
The more programs and workshops that exist to help discriminatory groups gain experience using and mastering computer programs, the more diversity will flood the offices across America. By addressing this gap with an investment in educating a diverse group of people, we can open the doors that were once closed.
Addressing the digital divide to answer diversity
Digital Divide is the term given to the communities of people across the country who are unable to afford computers and internet. Surprisingly, in this age of affordable devices, there are still thousands of people without devices to work on or gain experience operating. Not surprising, however, is the fact that a good many of these groups are made up of the same people being discriminated against.
Sidestepping the obvious chicken-or-the-egg argument, the Digital Equity program was created to directly address the digital divide and the discrimination that the gap perpetuates. By donating end-of-life devices that your business is retiring, instead of shredding or recycling them, you can help close the digital divide and promote greater workplace diversity—all while reducing e-waste!
If these groups of people can gain access to good technology—and have the right training to improve their mastery of those devices—then perhaps we can have a truly diverse and equal workplace. Maybe then, businesses still lagging in their outlook will see the value of people, rather than judging them by other factors.
As a woman-owned workplace with a highly-diverse culture, Sage has been a large promoter of and partner to the e-Steward Digital Equity program. Our hope is that viable end-of-life devices would go to closing the gaps on these fronts, rather than going to the dump. To learn more about the way we donate devices, click here.