Google touts about the fact that they are very focused on diversity. They recently announced a new head of diversity at Google, but also run into some new trouble within the company. A new controversial 3,000-word internal memo was sent across the company by an employee.
The memo is definitely not a good one, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” It contains complaints that the employee voices to everyone around the office. The employee, Danielle Brown, who previously worked at Intel, was named Google’s new VP of diversity, integrity and governance. She arrived at Google just a month ago. This is not a good look for her, and is already facing her first wave of tests being the new VP of diversity at Google.
So what’s this issue exactly? Well, some males don’t want to see other females around computers.
In her memo, she states that it’s a memo she sent to the company, and would not link to the employee’s memo because, “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
What’s more interesting is that the memo has been up for several days, but the company has not taken any action. Insiders say that Google exec’s are struggling to figure out a strategy on how to tackle this issue.
Here is a small snippet of what the memo said:
“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.”
But then, in what is pretty much the main premise, he went on in detail: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
Responding to the memo by the employee, VP of diversity Danielle Brown sent out her own memo to everyone in regards to the situation:
Affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion—and healthy debate
I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.
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. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.”
Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job.
Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.
I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves — TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.
Here’s the memo that Danielle refers to from Google VP Ari Balogh, whom the internal employee reports to:
I’d like to respond to the “pc-considered-harmful” post. Questioning our assumptions and sharing different perspectives is an important part of our culture, and we want to continue fostering an environment where it’s safe to engage in challenging conversations in a thoughtful way. But, in the process of doing that, we cannot allow stereotyping and harmful assumptions to play any part. One of the aspects of the post that troubled me deeply was the bias inherent in suggesting that most women, or men, feel or act a certain way. That is stereotyping, and it is harmful.
Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.