A Google employee sparked a revolt and wide-ranging debate regarding diversity in the workplace after his memo went viral over the weekend.
By basing his comments on purported biological differences between the sexes, the author of the memo entitled “Google's Ideological Echo Chamber” claims that gender inequality in the tech industry is based on “[d]istribution of preferences and abilities of men and women [that] differ in part due to biological causes,” ABC News reports.
While he also added that “[m]any of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions,” he also added that men are often more successful because they have a “higher drive for status.”
The document also addressed the alleged “left-leaning” culture at Google, urging the company to “stop alienating conservatives.”
In a comment on his original post, the author stated that while many of his colleagues agree with him, they fear going public about their personal thoughts on the matter.
The memo, which circulated internally before it went viral, comes at a delicate time for the tech giant.
The company is at the center of a probe by the U.S. Department of Labor that claims Google pays women less than their male counterparts. Calling it “extreme” gender pay discrimination, the agency is suing the company to have it provide more compensation data.
Despite the scandal involving the memo, Google's newly-appointed Vice President of Diversity and Integrity Danielle Brown wrote in an email to employees Saturday that she believed the memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.”
Claiming diversity and inclusion are at the core of the company's values and culture, she added that the tech giant is “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.”
Still, she continued, 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.”
In an internal G+ post, Google's Vice President of Engineering Aristotle Balogh said that “[b]uilding an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do.”
In a statement to ABC News, Google said that Brown's and Balogh's responses can be seen as the company's official comments regarding the memo.
On Twitter, some supported the author's views on the reasons why gender inequality in tech is a reality.
Others, however, were not happy, sharing their own views on the matter and bashing Google for allowing this kind of behavior.
Been a SW dev for 37 years and my only comment on the #GoogleMemo is I've met lots of men who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag.— Deborah Margraff (@DeborahMargraff) August 6, 2017
As a person who has taught 1000s of students of all genders I can confidently say that #googlememo on women engineers is utter bullshit— Thomas A. Powell (@thomasapowell) August 6, 2017
Regardless of where Google truly stands on this matter, the pending case against the company may end up producing more information on how the firm truly proceeds when it comes to paying its employees. Then, we will be able to know better whether Google keeps its word and is as dedicated to gender equality as it says it is.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson