Google Employee’s Memo Triggers Another Crisis For A Tech Industry Struggling To Diversify

By Tracey Lien and David Pierson
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In a 3,000 word memo, a male employee at google argued that women are biologically incapable of doing a man’s job in Silicon Valley.

Los Angeles Times

When Google realized in 2013 it had a diversity problem, it followed the corporate playbook by introducing workshops to train employees about hidden biases.

But four years later, and after sending three-quarters of its 70,000 employees through sensitivity training, the Mountain View, Calif., tech giant is now reeling after a male employee circulated a memo arguing women are biologically incapable of doing a man’s job in Silicon Valley.

The 3,000-word post, which contended, among other things, that men fundamentally have a higher drive for status than women, has triggered another crisis for a tech industry scrambling to find a credible solution to its underrepresentation of minorities and women. And it comes at a time when high-profile start-ups such as Uber and venture firms such as Binary Capital have come under fire for sexual harassment scandals.

The memo also puts Google’s push to promote diversity in the spotlight, raising questions about its efficacy. How could a company whose purported raison d’etre is “do no evil” harbor an employee bold enough to deride empathy as irrational, equate more women in the workforce as “social engineering” and claim females are too agreeable to effectively lead?

“If this engineer said he didn’t believe in the company’s product philosophy, and he was going to work against the product internally, there’s no way that person would keep their job,” said Karla Monterroso of Code2040, a nonprofit that advocates for black and Latino leadership in tech. “Tech needs to make this their moonshot. We had a speaker at a conference who said this is a matter of priority and belief, and this cannot be harder than creating an autonomous vehicle. It just isn’t.”

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