Ever since an employee shared a manifesto at Google, one of the biggest tech corporations on the planet, the company has been on damage control. Unfortunately, for Google, the issue has become a front-page headline, for more reasons that one. Here’s what you need to know.
Last Friday, a now former engineer at Google, named James Damore, sent out a manifesto criticizing Google’s hiring process and explaining, in his opinion, why women are having poor experiences in the company. He went as far as saying that women are biologically unfit for the “high-stress” work that is completed at Google. Damore then turned around and said, “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” and that he values, “diversity and inclusion.” Damore claims that he was let go from Google because he was, “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Google has declined to comment on the firing itself.
Once the manifesto was leaked, it went viral. With supporters claiming Damore should have the freedom to voice his opinion, and those that felt he was blatantly crossing a line. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai cut his family vacation short to address the memo. He sent a memo to the entire team at Google. Pichai’s memo wrote:
Now, with the fact that we have a private citizen using his First-Amendment right, obviously there is going to be a debate as to how Google handled the situation by firing the Senior Engineer. Pichai said, “…portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” The scenario does, however, shine a light on the major problem women are facing in the tech industry. There are no reasons why women cannot do the work that men do, to the same standard or better than men. Although the memo did not go about it the right way, it did get people talking about the bigger problem, and that is important. Google needs to make it evident that no matter what your gender is, you have an equal opportunity to make your mark on the world.