A document has reportedly been spreading around Google in recent days. It has only been shared internally at the moment but several employees have shed light on the contents; and apparently, there’s misogyny involved. According to one employee, the document was met with widespread derision but managed to gain partial traction as well.
The employee who wrote the document argued that the reason for the pay gap was due to biological reasons. They also said that Google should foster "ideological diversity", saying that Google shouldn't offer programmes for racial or gender minorities.
An employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Motherboard that:
“The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint – of thinking women are less qualified than men – to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him.”
The incident comes at a sensitive time for Google. It’s currently being investigated by the Department of Labor over a gender pay gap. The Department of Labor has previously said that there’s “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce” and that there’s “compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in most common positions at Google headquarters.”
Several of those who see themselves as targets of the senior software engineer have threatened to leave the company if it doesn't rectify the problem. How Google handles the situation will be quite important; as the saying goes: standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
Update: As noted by 9to5Google, Google's Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown, has refuted the content of the memo, sent by one of its engineers, refusing it to be representative of the company's views. She went on to say that:
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.
You can read her full statement here.