All important meetings at Salesforce must include at least 30% women, says CEO Marc CEO Marc Benioff

Silicon Valley has a diversity problem. Most of the people that work in the tech industry are male (about 70%) and white (about 60%), according to the big Valley firms that have releaseddiversity stats.

The lack of women is even sadder when it comes to technical roles inside of tech companies — the people actually building the products and services these companies sell. Women are half the population, but make up only about 20% of these roles.

Salesforce, the biggest tech employer in the city of San Francisco, is taking unusual steps to change this inside his company, CEO Marc Benioff told Re/Code journalist Kara Swisher on stage at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco on Friday.

“It’s more than just women leaning in,” he said, called the lack of women in tech a “crisis of prioritization.”

Benioff has a program inside the company called “Women Surge” designed to identify executive-potential women employees and mandate that they get included on all the important stuff going on in the company.

“I’ll go out and say to those managers, now I want you to invite all of your most high potential female executives into the meeting as well,” Benioff said.

He’s even got a target: Such meetings must include 30% to 50% women.

How well is this working for Salesforce? Hard to tell. According to its diversity numbers, Salesforce is on par with the rest of the industry: Its about 70% male overall, 80% male in its tech roles and 85% male in its leadership roles.

But hey, you have to start somewhere.

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