March 18, 2018

Google Gender Discrimination Scandal Shocks the World

13 August 2017, 05:19 | Kevin Scott

FMRI scan during working memory tasks. John Graner wikipedia

FMRI scan during working memory tasks.     John Graner  wikipedia

Memegen, an internal forum that uses images overlaid with amusing captions, was filled with irreverent posts that openly mocked how an email discussing the memo from Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, had leaked to the media so quickly. This week a male software engineer at Google circulated a lengthy internal memo explaining why women were less likely than men to have senior roles.

My goal here instead is to relate another Google bias-claims-and-employee-privacy story from last month, which would have counted as fairly significant news in its own right had it not soon been eclipsed by the memo episode.

David Brooks, the New York Times' conservative columnist, called for Pichai to resign.

"If Google continues to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture, it will be walking blind into the future-unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users", Damore wrote. And there's no sign of it letting up anytime soon.

Pichai earlier said parts of the 3,300-word manifesto crossed the line by "advancing harmful gender stereotypes" in the workplace.

Other ads are criticizing Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who fired Damore in a company email made available to the public.

Are men better at reading maps
Are men better at reading maps

"We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward", Pichai said in a memo to employees on Thursday.

A number of employees sent emails to Pichai and told managers that they planned to skip the meeting because they were anxious that they would face online reprisals for speaking out. Damore added that his firing "neatly confirms that point". Fired4Truth, widely believed to be Damore's Twitter account, hit 35,000 followers in a matter of days. After the post, many Google employees started to face online harassment "doxxing". Damore has now filed a complaint against Alphabet under a provision of the National Labor Relations Act that protects workers' rights activists.

Inside Google, the memo and its fallout represent perhaps the biggest setback to what has been a foundational premise for employees: the freedom to speak up about anything and everything.

Damore said that he was largely ignored when the memo was circulating within the company, but when it went viral, those who disagreed with the content sent angry emails to the human resources department demanding that he be censored and punished.

"I am a moderately conservative Googler", one employee wrote, "and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs".

"We are going to raise awareness about Google's one-sided bias and campaign against dissenting opinions and voices", activist and protest march organizer Jack Posobiec, a self-identified member of the "new right" that seeks to distance itself from the white-power politics of the alt-right, told this news organization via Twitter.

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