Over the weekend, Google engineer James Damore wrote an internal memo that is now being described as a 10-page “manifesto against diversity.” The memo made its way through the company and quickly went viral after being leaked to the public. Outlets are now reporting that James was fired from Google for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” (among other things).
Okay, we’re all wondering: What exactly did this anti-diversity “manifesto” contain?
Damore apparently wrote that the shortage of women in the tech industry is not due to sexism or any other bias, but is directly attributable to the biological difference between men and women. He also asserted that women are underrepresented in the top tiers of leadership because of their own preferences, not discrimination.
Damore also declared that “discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech” is “misguided and biased,” as well as “unfair, divisive, and bad for business.” In short, James believes that the company should focus less on diversifying their workforce based on race and gender and more on ideological diversity (he also claimed that Google has a general liberal bias).
In his own memo, entitled “Our Words Matter,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that parts of Damore’s memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” While he supports his employee’s rights to freedom of speech, he said Damore’s memo had gone too far.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to [Google’s] work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our code of conduct,” he said.
Danielle Brown, the company’s vice president for diversity, integrity, and governance, also denounced Damore’s views in a statement to staff. Brown said that Google remained committed to diversity in the workplace.
We are SO glad that Google took such strong and decisive action on this. Damore may have the right to voice his opinions, but Google also has the right to decide that they do not want someone with Damore’s regressive and offensive attitude representing their company. While Damore’s words are disheartening — and pretty enraging — Google’s firm response gives us so much hope for the future.