Google VP denounces memo’s views on female workers
Google’s new head of diversity has rejected an internal commentary from a male employee who suggested women don’t get ahead in tech jobs because of biological differences.
The duelling memos come as Silicon Valley grapples with accusations of sexism and discrimination. Google is also in the midst of a Department of Labor investigation into whether it pays women less than men. Google, Facebook and Uber have said they are trying to improve hiring and working conditions for women.
Danielle Brown, who joined Google as a vice-president a few weeks ago, said Google is “unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success.”
“Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job,” Brown wrote in a memo to employees.
The employee memo, which gained attention online over the weekend, is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” It begins by saying that only honest discussion will address a lack of equity. But it also asserts that women “prefer jobs in social and artistic areas” while more men “may like coding because it requires systemizing.”
The memo, which was shared on the tech blog Gizmodo, attributes biological differences between men and women to the reason why “we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.” It criticizes Google for offering mentoring and other programs for women and minorities and for what it calls “special treatment” of job candidates who are women or underrepresented minorities.
The employee was described in news reports as a software engineer. The employee’s identity has not been released.
Google, like other tech companies, has far fewer women than men in technology and leadership positions.