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Apple CEO Tim Cook talks with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson about diversity in tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson about diversity in tech

December 10, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently talked with Rev. Jesse Jackson about the all-important matter of diversity in the tech industry.

As reported by USA Today, Cook met in private with the renowned civil rights activist on Monday, Dec. 8. Jackson declined to share the details of their conversation, but he said that it was “positive and productive.” For its part, Apple provided the following statement regarding the meeting:

Apple is deeply committed to diversity within our company and the advancement of human rights around the world. We had a productive meeting with Rev. Jesse Jackson and we value his input. We look forward to working with him, our employees, customers and other stakeholders as we look for ways to do more.

Jackson is set to participate in a rally on Thursday, Dec. 11, to protest the widening wealth gap in Silicon Valley. The assembly is scheduled to take place outside Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Jackson is currently in the Bay Area for a workshop being held by his Rainbow Push Coalition at Intel's headquarters to address the racial and gender gap in the tech industry.

In addition to Cook, Jackson met with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last week and is scheduled to meet with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich soon to talk about the persistent lack of diversity in tech companies.

Apple published an employee diversity report in August, saying its workforce is 70 percent male and 30 percent female. According to the report, in the U.S., Apple’s workforce is 55 percent white, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent black.

Upon the report's publication, Cook had this to say:

Apple is committed to transparency, which is why we are publishing statistics about the race and gender makeup of our company. Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them. We are making progress, and we’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products.

After his conversation with Cook, Jackson said that the tech leader “has a real vision for Apple and he sees the value in inclusiveness.”

Cook has been pushing for inclusion and diversity since long before he publicly came out as gay in October. As reported last week, a bill aimed at barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employee discrimination in his home state of Alabama is set to be named after him.

See also: Apple CEO Tim Cook is on the short list for Time’s 2014 Person of the Year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg goes after Tim Cook, Apple, and Tim Cook visits Apple retail store with (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan for World AIDS Day.

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