This is a Short Note from my LinkedIn update.
James Damore has been fired. He authored the controversial memo on gender differences. The engineer claimed Google’s diversity programs discriminated against some employees by creating an “ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be discussed honestly”. CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to Googlers noting the memo “cross[ed] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”
James believes that gender diversity is “unfair, divisive, and bad for business.” He thinks that ideological diversity and biological differences are reasons we have shortage of women in tech. Unfortunately, his views are common.
Google staff—and lots of other people—are peeved, and it’s not hard to see why. The author of the document (a full version of which was posted by Gizmodo) argued that the gender gap in software engineering in part boiled down to biological differences between men and women. The ideas aren’t particularly well-reasoned. For instance, he wrote, “Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.” Ultimately, he contends that efforts to boost racial and gender diversity were “unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”
Few years ago, I was in a technical conference when a black lady (PhD student) from a black university was called to present her paper. As she walked to the podium, people started leaving. You can argue her field/etc may not be relevant. Hold it, it is bias. Right there, three male black participants decided to stay. We told her “present to us”. I saw tears on her eyes …
Today, in most African communities, we do hear “shit down woman”, “na woman dey sent”, “no be woman?”, etc. I’d have wished Google appoints James to Diversity Committee over firing him. He can help the firm, which is under federal investigation for paying women less, understands itself better.