Re: Tech Co vs. Tech Department
First, I absolutely agree with you that acting as if all minorities are from the inner city or all women are feeble is insulting and wrong. That said, have you ever worked or socialized or been part of a team (a sports team, for example), that does nothing to accept or welcome you -- or even proactively works against you, for whatever reason? This is the type of 'comfort in the workplace' I was alluding to: Just as when women first joined police and fire departments, there were issues around Penthouse posters on lockers and R-rated, sexualized calendars on walls, the majority can sometimes shun or make a workplace uncomfortable to the 'different' person, even if it's not meant particularly coldly. So by ensuring new hires are welcomed (and this should be across the board, anyway) and not neglected by current employees, businesses make the workplace more comfortable because the 'diverse hire' is included.
Groups may or may not be necessary. I think, in the case of these multinational firms they have groups for everything and anything so having one for various members of the workplace population, such as women, makes sense. People can choose to join or not, so participation is not mandatory.