Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is one of many female tech activists looking to increase diversity in the industry, by way of a new initiative titled Project Include.
Pao, who fought in a high-profile gender discrimination legal battle against her former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2012, is joined by the project’s founders Erica Joy Baker from Slack and Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, with the advocacy group focusing on diversity within the tech industry.
The goal of Project Include is to help chief executives of Silicon Valley companies to change the landscape of the industry, including more women and people of color in an environment that has historically been dominated by white men.
Pao’s involvement in Project Include follows her tumultuous spell as interim CEO of Reddit, wherein she endured a deluge of heated criticism after a number of changes were made to the site in order to make it more inclusive, which many saw as an affront to the principles it was founded upon in 2005. However, after facing harassment online as a result of these changes, many former Reddit employees spoke up in defense of her, claiming that many of these changes were not as a result of her decisions. Nonetheless, the immense backlash she continued to face was held up by many as an example of the challenges women face in high-profile jobs in the industry, with her being the center of a large amount of sexist and racist vitriol as a result of the changes to Reddit.
Project Include also includes Kapor Capital’s Freada Kapor Klein, ReadySet’s Y-Vonne Hutchinson, angel’s Susan Wu, Cathy Labs’ Bethanye McKinney Blount and Atipica’s Laura I. Gómez.