Google rebukes employee's gender gap memo

Tuesday, 08 Aug, 2017

The post, written by a male software engineer, went viral within the organisation for its controversial content, which went to the extent of saying that women in the same position as men, were paid less not due to any bias but because of inherent psychological differences between the genders. Maybe, the still-unidentified author argues, women are actually just biologically different from men and that's why there's a gender gap in engineering.

A manifesto by a Google employee arguing against programmes to promote race and gender diversity and calling instead for an increase in "ideological diversity" has sparked a furious backlash.

The reactions internally have been fierce and divisive.

Some conservative commentators, including internet host Tara McCarthy and political scientist Charles Murray, supported the author of the document.

I have no interest in trying to deconstruct what this person wrote. Everybody has their point of view that can be presented, but sometimes it is concerned with the respect and equality issues. The internal employee forums reflect that. But, she's not the only one talking.

Women are also predisposed to being more agreeable and more neurotic, he claims. But a former Google engineer tells Motherboard that the author is not alone in his general sentiment. "To suggest that these kind of attitudes don't bleed into someone's day to day work seems dangerously optimistic". "Otherwise "Diversity and Inclusion" which is essentially a pipeline from Women's and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company". However, the internal document went public over the weekend and the tech behemoth has had to go into damage control, forced to defend its own poor record on racial and gender diversity. Google has been hit too.

Another employee wrote: "Imagine working at Google, getting paid all that money, just to spend your time writing a disgusting manifesto and sending it to your peers".

Google - like most large Silicon Valley firms - has long grappled with stubbornly low rates of non-white and non-male workers.

"I'm sure these attitudes exist at both companies", said one person who worked with both Uber and Google. "Changing a culture is hard, and it's often uncomfortable", she writes, "But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that's why I took this job". Progress has been slow coming. According to Google's latest diversity report, women make up only 20 percent in tech and 25 percent in leadership roles.

After years of high-profile sexual harassment allegations have rocked some of the biggest names in the tech industry, women in the field have been speaking out about their experiences and fighting for equal representation and fair treatment.