A senior software engineer at Google has written a document titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” which calls for the company to replace its diversity initiatives with ones that promote “ideological diversity,” according to a report from Motherboard.
Motherboard says that it has only seen screenshots of the 10-page document, which was shared on an internal e-mail list, but has spoken with several Google employees who have read it. Its author argues that the gender gaps at Google are the result of biological differences between men and women, and that the company shouldn’t offer programs that help under-represented groups. The author also alleged that politically conservative employees are discriminated against, and that achieving ideological equality should be a priority. (Conservative political feelings aren’t a protected class in the eyes of anti-discrimination laws like race, religion, age, sex, citizenship, familial status, or one’s disability, or veteran status are.)
We’ve reached out to Google for comment, and will update if we hear back.
Numerous Google employees voiced their outrage over the existence of the document, and indicated that the author’s management chain and HR have been made aware of it.
Employees told Motherboard that the document was being shared widely across the company, and that the file was inaccessible because too many people were trying to read it at the same time. As of Saturday afternoon, the document was still live. While the document has been widely condemned, there are some at the company that are receptive to its arguments.
Gizmodo obtained a full copy of the manifesto, which includes a note at the beginning addressing the response to the document: “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.” The author goes on to speak to perceived biases within Google, and how that is detrimental to the company.
Following word of the document, Google’s new VP of Diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo to Google employees, saying that she “found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender,” and that it’s not a “viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
She went on to write that a diverse workplace is a central part of the company’s culture.
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.
Even as Google has worked to diversify its workforce, it hasn’t been without stumbles. Earlier this year, the US Department of Labor claimed that the company was withholding documentation related to a compliance audit, and that it has been systematically underpaying its female employees (Google has denied these allegations). This isn’t an isolated incident: the entire tech community in Silicon Valley has been scandalized by inadequate gender equality as companies such as Uber and Tesla have recently been the subject of many stories about sexism in the workplace.
Update August 5th, 4:43PM: Gizmodo has obtained a copy of the full document.
Update August 6th, 11:00am: Google’s VP of diversity, Danielle Brown, issued a memo concerning the document.