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Technology / AI and automation

Google employee sparks gender equality debate with controversial memo

A memo sent by a Google employee has sparked controversy after it claimed that biological differences are to blame for a lack of women in top jobs.

Written by a male software engineer, the 3,000-word memo was circulated throughout the company at Google, raising a heated debate between the employees at Silicon Valley.

Published by Gizmo, The 10 page memo expressed the employees’ opinion that women fail to reach top jobs in their industry because of ‘biological differences’ between men and women, not sexism or discrimination.

Google employee sparks gender equality debate with controversial memo
Google employee writes 10 page memo expressing his opinion on gender diversity.

He wrote: “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

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Google’s unnamed employee, who expressed his opinions also outlined that women “generally prefer jobs in social or artistic areas” whilst “more men like coding”.

The engineer said: “”Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

Although the male’s opinion has been largely criticised, it has had some messages of support from colleagues at Google.

The row sparked a response from Danielle Brown, Google’s newly appointed Head of Diversity, integrity and governance.

An internal email, published by Motherboard she said: “I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate.

“Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company-wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.”

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Aristotle Balogh, Google engineering vice president, also criticised the male’s memo saying “stereotyping and harmful assumptions” couldn’t be allowed to play any part in the company’s culture.

Google isn’t the first big company to be targeted for lack of equality, or discrimination after reports showed the pay gap among the best known celebs and Politian’s across the UK.

As well as raising issues with discrimination in the workplace, the row at Google has sparked conversations about the limits of free speech in the working environment.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

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