The Anita Borg Institute has told Uber that it was ending its partnership, due to “continuing allegations that Uber faces about the treatment of women employees as well as other business issues.”
In a letter obtained by Recode that was sent to Uber’s CTO Thuan Pham and its head of human resources, Liane Hornsey, the Silicon Valley group — which focuses, in part, on getting more women into technical roles at companies — added that “we believe that with Uber’s current internal focus you are unable to take full advantage of the programs and resources that ABI offers.”
Translation: ABI does not think Uber can do much right now given the big controversies over what some consider systematic sexism and sexual harassment issues at the company.
To fix this, Uber has subjected itself to an internal investigation, being conducted by former Attorney General Eric Holder, the results of which will be delivered to its board next week. A redacted version of the report is expected to be released to employees and perhaps the public after the management and its directors decide on what steps to take from the investigation’s recommendations. (Recode will try to get a non-redacted copy before that, natch!)
Under its partnership program, ABI works with and gets commitments from companies to move the ratios of women in technical jobs and to improve the culture around diversity.
“Our communities have expressed significant concern about ABI’s partnership with Uber due to the severity of the allegations,” wrote its CEO Telle Whitney in a statement to Recode. “We recognize our responsibility to stand up for women in tech and address the issues they face, and we continue to welcome and support individual women technologists that work at Uber.”
(In technical terms, for you geeks of all genders out there, that’s called being “deprecated,” which describes software that is “replaced, or not officially recommended.”)
Uber also commented via Komal Mangtani of its senior engineering leadership:
“We are working hard to transform our culture to support women engineers at Uber, to foster their growth and to attract more women in technical roles. We have received a lot of support from ABI thus far and we have participated in successful Grace Hopper events in the past. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us and while were surprised to hear of this development, we’re committed to continuing the conversation with ABI.”
Here’s ABI’s full note to Uber, so you can judge for yourself:
We are concerned about the continuing allegations that Uber faces about the treatment of women employees as well as other business issues. The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), and other diversity organizations have offered advice, concrete strategies, and resources to assist in improving the culture in Uber’s technical organization and the status of your women technologists. We appreciate the initial steps that Uber has taken to address the issues but we believe that with Uber’s current internal focus you are unable to take full advantage of the programs and resources that ABI offers. Annual partnership with the Anita Borg Institute is a year-long engagement that includes access to programs and resources but also includes commitments to specific actions focused on the retention and advancement of women technologists.
Based on the above, the feedback that we have received from our communities and the ongoing public issues, it is appropriate to take a step back and end our current partner engagement. We will return the pro-rated partnership fee and also provide the Top Companies report based on the data that you have provided.
ABI continues to welcome and support the individual women technologists that work at Uber to be a part of our Systers and local communities and to take part in ABI events worldwide.
Please let me know if I can answer any question.
Senior Vice President Industry Partners
Anita Borg Institute www.anitaborg.org