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Google engineer sacked for writing gender issue memo

Google engineer sacked for writing gender issue memo 

The controversies in Silicon Valley over gender discrimination continues to brew following the dismissal of an engineer at Google, who wrote a 10-page internal memo which suggested that women were less suited than men in certain technical and leadership roles.

James Damore, who worked at Google’s Mountain View, Calif. Headquarters circulated over the weekend a memo titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion. In it, Damore outlined the differences of traits between men and women and spoke about the gender gap in the search engine’s workplace and “honest discussion” about the issue being stifled.

The senior software engineer was fired on Monday after Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive said parts of the engineer’s memo “violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes,” according to a report from the Guardian.

Earlier in June, Travis Kalanick l, chief executive officer for Uber Technologies, lost his job over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

“At Google, we are regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership,” he wrote. “Of course men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of that, but it’s far from the whole story.”

Damore, then listed several differences in traits between women and men. For instance, he said women are considered “empathizing vs. systemizing” when compared to men. He said women have “higher anxiety and lower stress tolerance” than men; and that women “on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average.”

He also said that Google had created several “discriminatory practices” such as:

  • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race
  • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
  • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for diversity candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
  • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
  • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination

Damore said in the document that “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence”

In an email reported by the New York Times, he said: “I have a right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behaviour, which is what my document does.”

In an email to the Breitbart news Website, Damore said he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is a seasoned media veteran who specializes in technology and business news. Before joining IT in Canada Nestor worked as a journalist for IT World Canada, Mortgage Broker News and Thomson Reuters. His work has also appeared in other major news and tech publications in Canada and the United States both in print and online. Nestor also regularly blogs and tweets on the latest technology trends and gadgets.

Follow on Twitter: @ITIC_NestorA

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