After years of high-profile sexual harassment allegations have rocked some of the biggest names in the tech industry, women in the field have been speaking out about their experiences and fighting for equal representation and fair treatment. Although many companies have vowed to improve their office culture for women, one Google employee's memo against workplace diversity went viral this week. The company has since spoken out against the "manifesto," criticizing it for making "incorrect assumptions about gender."
The employee, a software engineer who has not been publicly identified, wrote a 10-page anti-diversity manifesto that was spread on the company's internal communication networks, and has since circulated online after being obtained by Gizmodo. The employee wrote that women do not have equal representation in the tech industry because of "biological" differences, and that discussions of workplace equality are the result of "political bias."
I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.
The employee went on to say that men have a "higher drive for status," and are more adept at balancing careers that "require long, stressful hours." You can read the full manifesto here.
Google's recently hired Vice President for Diversity, Integrity, and Governance issued a statement responding to the document.
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 ... Changing a culture is hard, and it's often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that's why I took this job.
Google has faced criticism for alleged gender disparity within the company in the past. Its latest diversity report found that women make up just 31 percent of the company, with 20 percent working in technical fields. Furthermore, the Department of Labor is currently accusing Google of severely underpaying female employees after an investigation found "systemic compensation disparities." Google denies the accusations.
The controversy comes at a time when the tech industry as a whole is battling accusations of promoting an internal culture that is hostile towards female employees. If anything, these reports will help raise awareness of the reported disparities and lay on the pressure to make some changes.