A memo from a Google employee caused an uproar at the internet search giant and revealed the issue of sexism to not just be limited to Uber.
James Demore, a software engineer at Google, released a 10-page memo over the weekend that went viral within the company and quickly escaped to the wider web. Entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, Demore argued the reason that women are underrepresented in technology companies was due to biological differences between the sexes.
Women are much more interested in “people”, wrote Demore, while men are more interested in “things”. The memo goes on to say that women are more open with their feelings, are more agreeable, and more neurotic than men, and that these inherent qualities hold them back in a technological workplace.
None of these statements have been proven to be factually correct.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was quick to respond to the memo, denouncing it as “advancing harmful stereotypes”. However, the memo caused a crisis within the company as many employees vehemently disagree with the memo, while others showed support for the gender discrimination proposed.
Pichai has cut short his vacation to provide a town hall meeting within the company. Demore was fired on Monday.
The memo comes at a terrible time for Google, as the company is currently under investigation for wage discrimination based on gender by the US Department of Labor. It also comes during a time of larger debate within Silicon Valley as tech firms grapple with institutional sexism.
While there are minor differences in brain chemistry between men and women, it is now believed by science that larger societal influences play the largest part in influencing a woman’s chosen career path. In North America women make up roughly 25% of the workforce working in technology, with roughly the same amount of women enrolled in university are in a technology related degree. Compare that with a country like India where women make up 34% of the technology workforce and even more enrolled in technology related programs.
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