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Apple Votes Down Plan To Increase Diversity

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Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Apple shareholders voted down a plan that would have required them to speed up the recruitment of racial minorities to senior positions on Friday night.

Shareholders voted against the proposal 94.9% to 5.1%, according to The Guardian. Apple’s board had urged its investors to vote against the proposal, saying that it would be too restrictive. After the vote, CEO Tim Cook said that the company was working very hard on diversity within its ranks. “There’s much more work to do on diversity across the company.”

Apple’s executives are overwhelmingly white and male — of the 18 executives listed on the company’s press page, 15 are white men. Of the eight members of the company’s board of directors, five are white men, according to Bloomberg Business.

The proposal was introduced by Tony Maldonado, a small shareholder of Dominican descent with 645 shares in the company. In an op-ed for The Latin Post, Maldonado explained why he was introducing the plan.

“Apple isn't living up to its own challenge in at least one critical regard: It's not doing nearly enough to foster and maintain racial and ethnic diversity among senior management and the company's board,” he wrote, citing the lack of diversity in the company’s 103 executive and senior management roles. He claims that the diversity numbers that Apple claims to have come mainly from its retail positions. “If one discounts low-wage Apple Store positions and concentrates solely on upper and senior executive positions, Apple becomes overwhelmingly white and male.”

Silicon Valley has been criticized for the lack of diversity within the tech industry. The ultimately defeated Ellen Pao lawsuit in 2015 highlighted the subtle bias against women in the industry, including the ways that sexism can keep doors closed to women. And a 2014 study from the American Institute for Economic Research found that minority individuals in the industry were paid less and passed over for promotions more than their white colleagues, USA Today reported.

Because the proposal got more than a 5% approval, Maldonado is free to reintroduce it next year. "The industry needs carefully designed, long-term plans to achieve diversity," Maldonado said in his op-ed. "It's time for diversity at Apple to move beyond its current role as a public relations tool."
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