Serena Williams takes on new challenge in Silicon Valley

Serena WilliamsImage copyright
AFP

Image caption

The role is a big change for the tennis champion who is engaged to a tech entrepreneur

Tennis star Serena Williams has joined the board at technology firm SurveyMonkey and pledged to tackle the lack of diversity in the industry.

Ms Williams, who is due to marry Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, said she is disappointed that high-paid tech jobs are filled by white and Asian men.

It is unclear how she plans to address the issue.

Tech firms based in Silicon Valley have been accused of failing to deal with sexism and a lack of diversity.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian are expecting their first child in the autumn

“I feel like diversity is something I speak to,” Williams said. “Change is always happening, change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me.”

At online polling service SurveyMonkey only 27% of technology jobs are filled by women and just 14% of those on its payroll are African Americans.

According to a 2016 survey, 60% of women working in Silicon Valley experience unwanted sexual advances and there have been several high-profile lawsuits, including one brought by former Reddit chief executive Ellen Pao.

Uber also hit the headlines recently after a female engineer said misogyny was rife at the firm.

Anne-Marie Imafidon is one of the UK’s leading campaigners for getting more girls and women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. She thinks the appointment is a good one.

“As a black woman, it is refreshing to see such a public figure take on this role. The celeb factor could be a good one and someone like her can change the social norm,” she said.

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