Does This Deleted Twitter Photo Highlight Microsoft’s Gender Diversity Problem?

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BLOG: Illustration of stereotypical male software developer immediately removed from Twitter by Microsoft Azure, but what does it say about the company?

Ah, the humble software developer. Geeky, quirky, and male.

Yes, does this photo that was posted and then immediately removed by the official Microsoft Azure Twitter account speak volumes about Microsoft’s ideas about gender roles in technology and its workforce diversity?

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Women make up 29 percent of Microsoft’s global workforce, but women specifically in technology roles account for a much lower 17.1 percent of its workforce. This is according to official diversity statistics released by Microsoft in 2014.

Microsoft has not yet responded to TechWeekEurope’s request for comment on why the Twitter photo was immediately deleted.

According to Lisa Brummel, Microsoft’s executive vice president of human resources: “Diversity and inclusion are a business imperative. Diversity needs to be a source of strength and competitive advantage for us. Our customer base is increasingly diverse. As our business evolves to focus more on end-to-end customer experiences, having a diverse employee base will better position Microsoft to anticipate, respond to and serve the needs of the changing marketplace.”

So why not promote diversity and use a female as a software developer? There are plenty.

Taking a wider view, more problems can be seen with the illustration. The ‘software developer’ stereotype designed by Microsoft is one of a series that show other types of jobs at Microsoft.

The only female in the group? A marketer, who is an expert at social media who LOVES shoes (she has some high heels under the desk for going out after work in) and has a family photo on her office wall, because, you know, women should be thinking about that as well.

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On the other hand, credit could go to Microsoft for using a minority its its illustration. The apparent American/African Black software developer would be part of a group which makes up just 3.5 percent of its workforce, so that’s good right?

Are these images innocent, or do they portray a larger problem in technology? Any why was the image immediately removed?

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