A manifesto titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” written by a software engineer at Google has garnered attention not only within the company but also throughout the broader media. The attention has been largely negative, as many commentators have found the manifesto to advance sexist arguments.
The manifesto was originally disseminated via the company’s internal email, but it has now been leaked. You can read the entire thing over at Gizmodo.
So, what does the manifesto say?
The author of the manifesto claims there is widespread discrimination against ideologically conservative employees at Google. It bewails the existence of mentoring and hiring programs at Google which target specific groups of people based on gender, race, or other factors.
The manifesto also claims that gender gaps in tech are the naturally-arising result of differing biological tendencies and capabilities among men and women, not the result of widespread discrimination against women.
The manifesto’s author writes: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
According to the manifesto, “Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things.” It goes on to suggest “there may be a limit to how people-oriented certain roles at Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).”
The author of the manifesto speculates: “Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.”
Additionally, the manifesto bemoaned the inflexibility of male gender roles as compared to the flexibility of female gender roles.
Within Google, employees have tended to respond negatively to the manifesto, and many have taken to social media to express such views. However, at least one article suggests there may be some internal support for certain points raised by the manifesto.
Google’s VP of diversity, Danielle Brown, who was hired mere weeks before this incident, spoke out against the manifesto, saying:
“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. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
In response to the outcry against the manifesto, its author affixed the following statement to the manifesto: “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.”
Previous problems with diversity at Google
In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor sued Google for withholding records related to compliance with labor regulations. An investigation ensued, and by April the DOL came back and accused Google of “systemic compensation disparities against women.”