If you to go solely on the media’s coverage of the memo you’d be thinking that it must be pretty bad. CNN, for example, made the claim that the memo said women are biologically unfit for the tech industry.
From her piece on fortune, Susan Wojcicki said:
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?
Basically saying that questions should never be raised if the answers do not provide the answers they want. Or as James wrote in his memo, “This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.”
(Strange that nobody ever asks why there aren’t more female garbage collectors or sanitation workers… Strange indeed.)
Now, here’s the kicker. At the moment, more than 60 current and former Google employees are seeking to bring a class-action lawsuit against Google claiming that they have discriminated against its female employees. The US Department of Labour (DoL), said it had evidence of “systemic compensation disparities”.
According to an article in ‘The Guardian’ in relation to the lawsuit that the US Department of Labour filed against the company early this year. Regional Solicitor, Janet Herold, said, “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry.”
In response to the allegations, Eileen Naughton, Google’s Vice President of People Operations said, “It’s very important to us that men and women who join Google in the same role are compensated on a level playing field, when they start and throughout their careers here.” An assertion corroborated by Glassdoor’s data.
However, their data also found that women at Google are still paid 16% less than the men.
In our sample of Google salaries, men and women are definitely not equally represented among job titles. For example, about 52 percent of males in our data worked as highly paid software engineers, while just 21 percent of women worked in those roles. By contrast, 6 percent of women in the sample worked as product marketing managers, while just 2 percent of men worked in those roles…
said Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain. He went on to say,
Men and women for a variety of reasons tend to be sorted into different jobs — even within the same company — and those different roles pay differently,” he says. “This new research shows this same phenomenon likely explains much of any overall gender pay gap at companies like Google as well.
Google’s own employee demographic data illustrates that of Google’s tech jobs, 80% of the workforce is male.
A statistic which matches the US Department of Education (DoE) data on the gender breakdown of Americans earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science, at 82% male.
Logically we know that these observed differences are the product of trends on average. But, Google fired James Damour for proclaiming those very things. Even though, in a report by Quillette, four scientists deemed the ten-page document to be scientifically accurate.
“The author of the Google essay on issues related to diversity gets nearly all of the science and its implications exactly right,” acknowledged, Lee Jussim a professor of social psychology at Rutgers University.
“Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at.” announced Debra W Soh, a science writer with a Ph.D. in sexual neuroscience from the University of York.
Because of this Google has painted themselves into a legal corner. On one side, by firing James they’ve proven that they disagree with the ideas that he brought forward. Thus, they can’t credibly use those points to explain the noticeable contrast between men and women within their company. So, if the inequality can’t be explained by natural distribution, then the only thing left to presume is that Google has purposefully promoted inequality costing them the lawsuit.
On the other hand, if Google does decide to show that the distribution is natural, then Google would be confessing to the wrongful termination of James. Again, costing them the lawsuit.
Google’s CEO he said:
The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic.
According to an article on NPR, some women stayed home the following Monday because the memo made them “uncomfortable going back to work.”
That right, they were so offended that the memo insinuated they might have a lower stress tolerance that they decided work was too stressful to attend. But, yeah, there’s no truth to what he said at all…