I disagreed with some points, and agreed with some others in the memo that was posted a few days ago, in the sense that I had the feeling that some of the information in the memo was misrepresented, or just plain wrong (the fuck, left/right tendencies, maybe there's something that proves it, but it seemed silly to me), but most was pretty much unarguable. But I also felt that the author had made an effort to present his point as reasonable as possible, and my learning of his firing by Google CEO left a bitter taste in my mouth, so I felt like I had to write something on this topic. If not for anyone else, then just for myself.
CEO Sundar Pichai says internal document that criticised efforts to promote women and under-represented minorities is ‘contrary to our basic values’
If that is the case, then what are you basic values? Not allowing employees to express their opinion? I'm all for squashing banal arguments that are presented without any reason nor scientific backing (see racist rightwing fuckwits), but that wasn't what this document was.
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. 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.
Even if the document sometimes makes you wonder about how true this is (I could definitely not shake the feeling that it was written by a republican anti-feminist), I couldn't find anything in it that hadn't been backed up by science at some point in time, which might explain where the opinions represented in it came from.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to [Google’s] work is offensive and not OK,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo to employees. “It is contrary to our basic values and our code of conduct.”
It is, and rightly so, expect that wasn't what was written. The document implied that women in general might be less suited for work at Google (due to the kind of work being done, the average job distribution, whatever), but that just means that the bell curve shifts a little bit. There will still be a great number of woman who will be able to work at Google perfectly fine, and indeed, are probably the ones currently working there.
“Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove they are not like the memo states, being ‘agreeable’ rather than ‘assertive’, showing ‘lower stress tolerance’ or being ‘neurotic’.”
That's exactly how I feel at any goddamn meeting. Why is this related to being a woman at all. It might be more likely that women are doing this, but again, bell-curve, it doesn't mean that all women are doing it, and it certainly doesn't imply that the women currently working at Google are doing it.
Like most of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies, Google is overwhelmingly male, white and Asian. Women make up just 20% of the technical workforce.
Wait, being Asian is suddenly not diverse any more? And 20%? 20 fucking percent. Do you know how fucking amazing that is? I've never worked at a company where 20% of the technical workforce was female. I haven't even seen such a company. It's above average across the entire industry, it's above average in probably any engineering class ever taught. Why would they expect to have more than that if they're hiring the best of the best?
Anyhow, all the reporting around this whole debacle is just pissing me off, when the whole of that memo as it regards to women can just be summed up as:
This might or might not be true, but freaking out over the fact that some jobs are more suited to men than women seems a bit silly. Undoubtedly there's jobs (at google!) that invert this curve, and it might or might not be engineering positions. I doubt anyone has empirical evidence for any of that, since determining quality in engineering positions is already pretty much a black art, even without making it more difficult by taking gender into account.