Google fires memo writer who de­fended gen­der gap in firms

New Straits Times - - World -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Google on Mon­day fired the au­thor of an in­ter­nal memo de­fend­ing the gen­der gap in Sil­i­con Val­ley tech jobs as a mat­ter of bi­ol­ogy, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

The move, which was not con­firmed by Google, fu­elled a con­tro­versy about whether “po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” at the com­pany was sti­fling free speech.

In an email to em­ploy­ees, Google chief ex­ec­u­tive Sun­dar Pichai sup­ported the right of em­ploy­ees to ex­press them­selves, say­ing that much of what was in the memo is fair to de­bate, ac­cord­ing to a copy of the mes­sage.

“How­ever, por­tions of the memo vi­o­late our Code of Con­duct and cross the line by ad­vanc­ing harm­ful gen­der stereo­types in our work­place,” Pichai said in the email.

“To sug­gest a group of our col­leagues has traits that make them less bi­o­log­i­cally suited to that work is of­fen­sive and not OK.”

Re­code, Bloomberg and other me­dia out­lets re­ported that the au­thor of the doc­u­ment was fired.

The news be­came a hot topic at Twit­ter, with some calling the em­ployee a mar­tyr and rail­ing against Google for pun­ish­ing him for ex­press­ing a view that went against Sil­i­con Val­ley’s ef­forts to pro­mote di­ver­sity at tech com­pa­nies.

The doc­u­ment that trig­gered the con­tro­versy claimed “bi­o­log­i­cal causes” ex­plained the lack of women in tech in­dus­try lead­er­ship roles. AFP

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