The second question is whether Google had to fire him, or if there was some other action that they could have taken. I believe that Google's decision to fire him was based on PR considerations, they wanted to show how great they were with this issue. This was a political decision, not a moral one.
I'm not a bubble, and neither am I an idiologist. You seem to like putting people in chambers.
Read YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s Response to the Controversial Google Anti-Diversity Memo
Aug 09, 2017
Yesterday, after reading the news, my daughter asked me a question. “Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?”
That question, whether it’s been asked outright, whispered quietly, or simply lingered in the back of someone’s mind, has weighed heavily on me throughout my career in technology. Though I’ve been lucky to work at a company where I’ve received a lot of support—from leaders like Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg to mentors like Bill Campbell—my experience in the tech industry has shown me just how pervasive that question is.
Time and again, I’ve faced the slights that come with that question. I’ve had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned. I’ve been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I’ve had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt.
So when I saw the memo that circulated last week, I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others. I thought about the women at Google who are now facing a very public discussion about their abilities, sparked by one of their own co-workers. I thought about the women throughout the tech field who are already dealing with the implicit biases that haunt our industry (which I’ve written about before), now confronting them explicitly. I thought about how the gender gap persists in tech despite declining in other STEM fields, how hard we’ve been working as an industry to reverse that trend, and how this was yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science. And as my child asked me the question I’d long sought to overcome in my own life, I thought about how tragic it was that this unfounded bias was now being exposed to a new generation.
Some of those responding to the memo are trying to defend its authorship as an issue of free speech. As a company that has long supported free expression, Google obviously stands by the right that employees have to voice, publish or tweet their opinions. But while people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender. Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments.
For instance, what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees explained their underrepresentation in tech and leadership roles? Would some people still be discussing the merit of the memo’s arguments or would there be a universal call for swift action against its author? I don’t ask this to compare one group to another, but rather to point out that the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.
I thought about all of this, looked at my daughter and answered simply.
“No, it’s not true.”
Susan Wojcicki is the chief executive officer of YouTube.
Women only account for 31 percent of Google’s work force and 20 percent of its technical staff, according to the company’s latest diversity reports. But the company does have a rich history of fostering top technology talent like Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer; Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s former chief executive; and Susan Wojcicki, who runs YouTube. Megan Smith, a former vice president at Google who recently served as the chief technology officer for the United States under President Barack Obama, said the views promoted by Mr. Damore were common in Silicon Valley.
“It’s insidious and it’s all around the culture,” Ms. Smith said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The flap over Mr. Damore’s criticism of Google’s diversity efforts comes as the company has tangled with the Labor Department over its pay practices. The department has not charged Google with any wrongdoing, but a department official said there was evidence that the company systematically paid women less than men. Google denies this is the case.
Mr. Damore’s comments also raised another issue around Google’s peer-review system. Employees at the company are expected to judge their colleague’s work in a peer-review process that is essential to deciding whether someone gets promoted. By expressing certain beliefs — such as that women are more prone to anxiety — the concern was that he could no longer be impartial in judging female co-workers.
For a company steeped in a rich history of encouraging unconventional thinking, the problem was not that he expressed an unpopular opinion, but a disrespectful one, according to Yonatan Zunger, who left Google last week after 14 years at the company to join a start-up.
“We have a long history of disagreement over everything from technical issues to policy issues to the most mundane aspects of building management, and over all, that has been tremendously valuable,” Mr. Zunger said in an email. “The problem here was that this was disrespectful disagreement — and there’s really no respectful way to say, ‘I think you and people like you aren’t as qualified to do your job as people like me.”
Wesley Chan, a venture capitalist at Felicis Ventures and an early Google employee who left the company in 2014, said Google had no choice but to fire Mr. Damore.
“It’s not about free discourse,” said Mr. Chan. “It’s about advancing a fringe viewpoint which is hurtful to a large population of the company.”
The legal argument for Mr. Damore’s dismissal is more complicated. On one hand, there may be a way to argue that the memo and its recommendations — such as “stop alienating conservatives” — constitute a “concerted activity” to aid and protect his fellow workers, which may be protected under federal labor law. However, Google can argue that his memo created a hostile workplace for women.
“There’s no free speech in the private sector workplace,” said Katherine Stone, a labor and employment law professor at University of California, Los Angeles. “Clearly, the company was concerned that he was making the environment difficult for people to do their jobs.”
The imbroglio at Google is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in the tech enclave. Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick lost his job in June amid scandals over sexual harassment, discrimination and an aggressive culture. Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more women are speaking up to say they’ve been sidelined in the male-dominated industry, especially in engineering roles.
I think that conservatives in general feel stifled at Google.
No, I know personally that people can change their minds. It's a propensity of humans, that people reconsider.
I change my mind fairly often.
Maybe you are not acquainted with people like me.
I don't think this is about a "liberal ideology"---nor is the issue about someone who got fired for making an innocuous albeit unpopular post--it was hardly innocuous or simply "unpopular"--and the main issue really isn't freedom of speech.
You are telling me what open minded is?