In an internal memo passed around on Friday, a Google employee criticized the company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. The memo, which was first reported on by Motherboard, and later published in full by Gizmodo on Saturday, quickly sparked backlash both within the company and in public online.
The 10-page document, allegedly written by a male software engineer, argued that the lack of women within the male-dominated tech industry is due to biological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” the author wrote, going on to say that women “prefer jobs in social or artistic areas," while men “may like coding because it requires systemizing.” The employee went on to call out Google’s “left-leaning” workplace culture and argued that conservative Googlers have been alienated in that environment.
Danielle Brown, the newly hired VP of Diversity, Inclusion, and Governance at Google, released a statement that denounced the anti-diversity views held by the author of the memo. Brown's statement read, “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.”
Brown later went on to say that Google embraced alternate viewpoints, including political viewpoints, so long as they “work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
Google, like other companies in Silicon Valley, has a long history of diversity issues. According to a diversity report published in June, 69 percent of Google’s workforce is male and 56 percent are white. Women comprise only 25 percent of leadership roles and 20 percent of tech jobs.
The engineer's identity has not been revealed, but CNBC reports that he works under Google VP Ari Balogh.