An internal document criticizing Google’s diversity measures has gone viral within the company.
The document, which was written by a senior software engineer, is being shared widely on a private meme network and on Google+. According to Motherboard, which first reported the story, the manifesto argues that the gender gap exists due to biological differences between men and women. It also calls for Google to end programs that cater to gender or racial minorities.
Gizmodo has obtained a copy of the 10-page document. “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” the anonymous author writes. “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.”
The author then goes on to argue that there are “possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech.” Some causes, according to the author, are “biological” in nature; women, for instance, are inclined to “openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas.”
“Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average,” the author adds.
In the introduction to the document, the author maintains that he or she has “gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired.” But many employees were quick to speak out against the document on social media. “If H.R. does nothing in this case, I will consider leaving this company for real for the first time in five years,” one employee wrote.
Danielle Brown, Google’s newly-hired vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, responded to the controversy in a memo obtained by Motherboard. She wrote that the document does not express “a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
She also noted, however, that “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.”
Google is currently being investigated by the Department of Labor, which said it has found evidence of “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”