Google ignites furore over internal anti-diversity memo

Google has denounced a male software engineer’s memo that argues the lack of women in top tech jobs was due to biological differences between men and women.

The memo stoked a heated debate over treatment of women in the male-dominated Silicon Valley and caused uproar at the firm.

The unnamed engineer wrote an internal 3000 word document attacking political correctness and diversity issues which was then published in full by tech website Gizmodo.

He wrote:

“Googles (sic) left bias has created a politically correct monoculture,”

“Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we dont see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” the engineer added.

“We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” 

The  author says women generally “prefer jobs in social or artistic areas” while “more men may like coding” and said he had received “many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude”.

The article prompted a response from Google’s recently hired vice president of diversity, integrity and governance Danielle Brown, who said “the heated debate” over the issue had “compelled” her to say a few words.

In an internal email, published by tech website Motherboard, she said the article was “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages”.

“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate,” she added.

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions

But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws

The gender debate has boiled for months following sexual harassment scandals at Uber Technologies Inc and several venture capital firms.

 

 

The episode has sparked debate on the proper limits of free speech in corporate environments.

One Comment - Write a Comment

  1. I have been arguing this point for years – men and women are different! We should be proud of that and stop trying to say that everyone is the same, with the same strengths/weaknesses and interests. Don’t get me wrong I fully support equal opportunity – whilst biologically predisposed to have certain gender traits, the beauty of human beings are there are always exceptions to the rule. If a man wants to become a nurse and he is the best applicant for the job, great. If a woman wants to be a senior coder for Google and she is the best applicant for the job, great. However, neither should get the job because there is a lack of their gender in the industry. A company should hire the best person for the job and the recruitment process should be free of bias in any form. If a certain career is male or female dominant, it is most likely because that gender has more interest in that area and is more successful at it. It is not a giant conspiracy against either gender. It should not be politically incorrect to state that there are gender differences when it comes to choice of career. Difference of any kind should be embraced, it makes the world a more interesting place. Be clear about what equal opportunity really means and focus on that!

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