Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Google Exec Denounces Employee's Views on Female Workers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Google Exec Denounces Employee's Views on Female Workers

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * Silicon Valley's efforts to promote workforce diversity haven't yielded many results unless you count a backlash at Google, where a male engineer blamed biological differences for the paucity of female programmers.

James Damore, the Google engineer, told Reuters news service in an email Monday night that he had been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes."

Damore said he is exploring legal remedies.

His memo, shared on the internet over the weekend, also criticized Google for pushing mentoring and diversity programs and for "alienating conservatives."

Google's head of diversity, Danielle Brown, had responded with her own memo, saying Google is "unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success."

As for Damore's dismissal, Google said Monday it could not talk about individual employee cases.

The dueling memos came as Silicon Valley grapples with accusations of sexism and discrimination. Google is in the midst of a Department of Labor investigation into whether it pays women less than men, while Uber's CEO recently lost his job amid accusations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination.

Leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Uber, have said they are trying to improve hiring and working conditions for women. But diversity numbers are barely changing.

The Google memo begins by saying that only honest discussion will address a lack of equity. But it also asserts that women "prefer jobs in social and artistic areas" while more men "may like coding because it requires systemizing."

Shared on the tech blog Gizmodo, the memo attributes biological differences between men and women as the reason why "we don't have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership."

While the engineer's views were broadly and publicly criticized online, they echo the 2005 statements by then-Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who said the reason there are fewer female scientists at top universities is in part due to "innate" gender differences. …

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