Google employee's memo blaming 'biological causes' for lack of women in top jobs sparks backlash

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A Google employee’s memo blaming “biological differences” for the lack of women in top jobs has sparked a backlash at the firm.

The internal memo, written by a male software engineer, argues the under-representation of women in the technology sector is not simply due to bias and discrimination.

Instead, he writes: “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

The employee at Google’s headquarters in California goes on to say that women are generally more interested in “people rather than things”.

The 10-page memo, published by tech website Gizmodo, adds: “We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

“Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail.”

The author adds: “On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed.”

The unnamed author also claims women generally “prefer jobs in social or artistic areas” while “more men may like coding”.

The opinion has been widely criticised but the author has also reportedly received many messages of support from fellow Google employees.

The tech giant’s new head of diversity, integrity and governance, Danielle Brown, criticised the memo with her own post. She said the document made “incorrect assumptions about gender”.

“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate,” she said.

“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.”

The memo has been slammed on Twitter, with people debating the limits of free speech in the workplace.

Journalist Jamil Smith wrote: “It scares me that there are a lot of people who agree with this Google employee. This memo is looney tunes.”

But another Twitter user, Danny McLean, wrote: “Matters addressed in the google memo are beyond sexist rhetoric and solidarity fem platitudes. The writer isn’t anti women. He’s pro reality.”

The Standard has contacted Google for comment.

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