In July, Google emerged triumphant in its fight with the US Department of Labour over supplying pay gap data, but the ghost of discrimination came back to haunt the tech giant when an anti-diversity “manifesto” went viral inside the company, infuriating its employees.
According to a report by online news website Motherboard, the anti-diversity manifesto suggested that Google should halt initiatives aimed at increasing gender and racial diversity within the company and instead focus on “ideological diversity”.
The employee who wrote the document argued that “the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes”, Motherboard cited public tweets from Google employees as saying.
It also said Google should not offer programmes for under-represented racial or gender minorities.
The document “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” was first published on Friday and had been read by several employees who took to Twitter to slam the company’s ideology. The document was still being shared among company’s software engineering teams on Saturday.
“Today’s rage-read (at work): doc essentially saying that women are unsuited for tech because they like people, whilst men like things,” an employee wrote.
Jaana Dogan, a software engineer at Google, tweeted that some people at the company at least partially agreed with the author.
Further, Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance Danielle Brown has issued her own memo to Google employees in response to the now-viral memo.
“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions,” she said.
“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,” she added.
Brown thanked her fellow Googlers for bringing up the issue and vouched for a need to change.
The controversy comes following a string of harassment and discrimination allegations by several Silicon Valley giants, including Uber and high-profile venture capital firms.
Last month, Google emerged victor in its fight with the US Department of Labour over supplying pay gap data. The department alleged that the tech giant tried to restrict media coverage of the gender discrimination case.
The Department of Labour had accused Google of systematically underpaying women.