A male senior software engineer at Google decided on Friday to share his opinion about Google's diversity initiatives by circulating a 10-page document to his colleagues condemning the initiatives and including policies and suggestions that encourage "ideological diversity" instead. The document is going internally viral after being shared on an internal network and Google+.
In the manifesto titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," the author tries to argue that the gender gap in technology is not a product of discrimination, but inherent biological differences between men and women in general. "We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes. The memo comes while Google is currently battling a wage discrimination investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which found that Google often pays women less than men who serve in similar roles.
According to Googlers on Twitter, the author of the controversial document also said that Google shouldn't offer programs for underrepresented racial or gender minorities.
“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes," the document reads. “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.”
Motherboard reported on the story first, speaking anonymously with a number of Google's employees who received the document. Many employees also took to Twitter to condemn the manifesto and its anti-diversity concept.
Today's rage-read (at work): doc essentially saying that women are unsuited for tech because they like people, whilst men like things.— Aimee (@aimeeble) August 4, 2017
Internal article circulated at work today describing how gender rep gap in SW is due to biological differences btwn men/women.— Sarah Adams (@sadams007) August 4, 2017
That garbage fire of a document is trash and you are wonderful coworkers who I am extremely lucky to work with.— Andrew Bonventre (@andybons) August 4, 2017
Write a doc about how inferior women are, then try to be a hero by offering help to save the *vulnerable* 🤢🤢🤢 Still shaking in anger.— Jaana B. Dogan 👀 (@rakyll) August 4, 2017
If HR does nothing in this case, I will consider leaving this company for real for the first time in five years.— Jaana B. Dogan 👀 (@rakyll) August 4, 2017
The author is now in contact with me explaining why he received *supportive* response + more are going to leave if we don't fix the culture.— Jaana B. Dogan 👀 (@rakyll) August 4, 2017
Google's new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown issued a memo to Google employees about the document. With just a couple of weeks at Google under her belt, Brown immediately dived in to address the issue. Brown's statement was also obtained by Motherboard.
"Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
"Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said."