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Former Google AI ethicist Timnit Gebru was a featured speaker at this year's Grace Hopper Celebration. Photo courtesy of Timnit Gebru

Organizations, even some of those focused on getting more people of color and women into technology, say it is past time to focus on the institutional racism and sexism that awaits those women and people of color who do enter the field.

Why it matters: Just getting a more diverse group of college graduates joining tech won't help if harassment and discrimination continue to push qualified people out of the field.

The big picture: As I wrote in this weekend's Axios Deep Dive on systemic racism in tech, the industry loves to talk about its lack of diversity as largely a "pipeline problem" of not enough women and people of color studying technology.

  • But even those whose mission is to fill that pipeline have begun turning the spotlight back on the industry itself.

The shift was especially noticeable this year at the recent Grace Hopper Celebration, an annual conference of women in tech.

  • "Historically we have not gotten that right," says Brenda Darden Wilkerson, who leads Anitab.org, which puts on the Grace Hopper Celebration. "We have been more of a cheerleader."

Past years' events centered on talks from individual women about their successes, but this year's gathering featured more provocative topics, including a talk from ousted Google AI leader Timnit Gebru, who spoke about the discrimination she and others have faced.

  • Gebru spoke about how the harassment she and others faced at Google contrasts with how the company talks up its sponsorship of Grace Hopper and other events, which Gebru derided as "diversity branding."
  • Gebru also rejected the idea that what is needed is simply better mentorship from existing tech executives.
  • "They don't want to believe that they are the problem, that they are the ones that are actually preventing us from being OK," Gebru told Axios.

Go deeper: Check out the full edition of Axios Hard Truths focusing on systemic racism in the tech industry.

Go deeper

Our warped reality

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Efforts to bring more diversity to media are no longer just a moral mission but a business imperative driven by the transformation of U.S. demographics.

Why it matters: If newsrooms and studios were more inclusive, they could better address falsehoods in a society blighted by racial stereotyping, misinformation and distrust in institutions.

12 mins ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."