Google engineer’s “anti-diversity memo” sparks uproar

Kramer Phillips By Kramer Phillips | 3 years ago

An anonymous Google engineer’s 10-page manifesto against his company’s diversity initiatives has sparked heated responses on social media and an official denunciation from Google leadership. The document, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” drew instant controversy by ascribing the lopsided gender ratio in tech to men and women’s innate “biological differences,” criticized what it calls Google’s internal “left bias,” and suggestion that the company shift away from initiatives promoting gender and racial diversity and focus instead on cultivating “ideological diversity.”

“We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” the author wrote. He argued that tech remains male-dominated because men are more naturally inclined to tech-related jobs and more likely to seek promotion in the field: They are more likely to value “things,” whereas women gravitate more toward “people,” “feelings,” and “aesthetics.”

The author also too aim at existing workplace sensitivity training, arguing that “microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.”

Google executives panned the memo. Google engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh wrote an internal post stating that “stereotyping and harmful assumptions” were not acceptable in the company’s culture, while Google’s recently hired vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, Danielle Brown, sent a memo saying that the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.”

Gender diversity is a hot-button issue at Google and other tech companies in light of numerous complaints from women tech professionals about sexual harassment at work and at industry conferences. Debates surrounding gender pay gaps are also looming large, with the Department of Justice currently investigating alleged gender-based pay discrimination within Google itself.