A senior software engineer at Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has sparked outage after writing a manifesto criticizing the tech giant’s diversity initiatives. The 10-page treatise which was shared internally as a memo argues that the search giant should focus more on ideological diversity instead of trying to increase gender and racial diversity.
The software engineer in the manifesto claims that biological differences between men and women should always be blamed for supposed underrepresentation of women in high ranking and technical position. The author of the report is yet to be identified even though it was written by a senior software engineer and shared on an internal Google mailing list.
“We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” one of the reports excerpts read.
Google executives were forced to denounce the report as soon as it sparked outrage in the company going as far as asserting tensions over sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. The fact that outrage was sparked to begin with over the expression of an opinion suggests that the author may be correct about a culture of ideological intimidation.
Google’s vice president of diversity integrity and governance, Danielle Brown, says the 3,000-word document advances incorrect assumptions about gender and is not the official position of the company. She did not elaborate beyond rhetorical flourish.
“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,” Brown in a statement. In other words, feeling safe, but only within certain accepted ideological boundaries. Otherwise, outrage and blackballing are encouraged.
Google’s engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh has also denounced the Software engineer’s manifesto, stating that stereotyping and harmful assumptions could not be tolerated as part of the company’s culture. If and when the author will be punished for saying the wrong thing remains to be seen.
However, it has emerged that the author of the report received expressions of support from many anonymous engineers who were too fearful to come out by name. The author says he received many personal messages from fellow staffers most of whom thanked him for bringing up very important issues.
The controversy comes at a time when Google is the subject of a Department of Justice investigation over so-called “gender-based discrimination”. The incident also comes on the heels of allegations of “harassment and discrimination of women” in large tech companies.
Google stock was up by 0.58% in Friday’s trading session to end the week at $945.79 a share.