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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Intel became the latest tech company to report diversity statistics Tuesday, sharing a mixed bag of annual numbers that included small gains in some areas, relatively flat numbers of Black employees and a decline in female representation in the U.S.

Why it matters: Intel, which was one of the first Big Tech companies to commit significant dollars to addressing racial and gender inequality, has nonetheless struggled, like its peers, to make continuous and significant progress toward a more diverse workforce.

Details: Women made up a bit more than a quarter of Intel's employee headcount, seeing a tiny drop in the U.S. compared to last year and a similarly minuscule increase over the same period for Intel's total global workforce.

  • The percentage of underrepresented minorities in the U.S. workforce ticked up by a fraction of a percentage point, coming in at just over 16%. African American representation was flat at 4.9%.

What they're saying:"It may be slower than we would like but at least the conversation is on the table," Intel's interim chief diversity and inclusion officer Dawn Jones told Axios. (Former diversity chief Barbara Whye recently announced she was leaving Intel to take over the top diversity role at Apple.)

The big picture: Intel's inability to significantly boost the diversity of its workforce is far from unique in the industry.

  • Plus, tech's story on race isn't just about the numbers. As we've recently written, it's about how much power is concentrated at the top of companies, largely in the hands of white men.
  • It's also about systemic discrimination and harassment reported by Black and brown employees and women — including recent controversies at Coinbase and Google.
  • Just Monday, Pinterest said it settled a gender discrimination suit with former COO Francoise Brougher (reportedly for $22.5 million, $2.5 million of which is going to charities).

Meanwhile: Even as they struggle to improve conditions in their own industry, tech companies are putting energy into broader racial equality efforts.

  • Microsoft today announced it’s partnering with three Milwaukee pro sports teams and venture capital fund TitleTownTech to form the "Equity League," aimed at supporting Black and Latino founders.
  • Yelp today announced initiatives alongside its diversity report, including depositing $10 million into three Black-owned banks that prioritize lending to underserved communities.
  • Apple earlier this year established a $100 million racial justice and equity fund aimed at addressing systemic inequality.

What's next: Intel wants to set up an industry-wide effort that would work to help standardize ways of measuring different diversity statistics from one company to another.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 28, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of financial inclusion

On Thursday, January 28, Axios' Dan Primack hosted a conversation on financial inclusion in the global economy, featuring Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Institute for Women's Policy Research CEO C. Nicole Mason.

Sen. Tina Smith discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, uneven access to technology, and the role of systemic racism in growing economic inequities.

  • On what she thinks will be the most effective way to move the needle on financial equity: "Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour...is one of the biggest things that we can do to address the wage inequality and savings potential for people of color in this country."
  • On Democrats' economic goals going into the new administration: "Addressing this kind of discrimination in financial services and creating more opportunities for people of color to get access to banking services, loans, access to capital is a big priority for us as [Democrats] move into the majority."

C. Nicole Mason discussed how job losses during the pandemic reflect existing gender and racial inequities, as well as the disproportionate burden of childcare on women.

  • On the scale of job losses for women: "Since the start of the pandemic, women have exited the workforce at four times the rate of men, so about 11 million women since the start of the pandemic have lost their jobs or exited the workforce."
  • On childcare as an equity issue: "With the pandemic, the burden [of childcare] doubled and tripled...We need a national childcare infrastructure where we keep up childcare as a public good and people can access it regardless of their income or ability."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Europe, Visa Charlotte Hogg, who discussed digital and financial inclusion as a component of economic equity during the pandemic.

  • "We have to think about inclusion as being digitally, financially included. [From] small businesses who are increasingly important in driving towards a more inclusive recovery and who need to be digitally enabled to participate in that, [to] consumers who for various reasons may be vulnerable."

Thank you Visa for sponsoring this event.

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley announces run for re-election

Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Friday that he's running for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regain control of both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Several Republicans had urged the 88-year-old senator to run to avoid another retirement after five incumbent senators said they wouldn't seek re-election.

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

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