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.
“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.
Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.