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James Damore; Google clamping down on free speech

Google fires engineer for memo based on gender science

After Google fired James Damore, author of a manifesto defending a fact-based, scientific approach to the alleged gender gap in tech, many Google employees spoke out in support of his manifesto.

Published: August 10, 2017, 10:09 am

    Damore’s ten-page manifesto challenged prevailing leftist and “progressive” narratives at the company. The former Google engineer is standing by his views and says the company is trying to smear his reputation.

    Damore, who was fired by the search giant on Monday, defended his views during an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg TV, in which he argued biology prevents women from being as successful as men in the tech industry and criticised the company as having a “left leaning” bias.

    Damore said he initially shared the memo a month ago, but “no one high up ever came to me and said, ‘No, don’t do this,’ even though there were many people who looked at it,” Damore told Bloomberg. “It was only after it got viral that upper management started shaming me and eventually firing me.”

    He has submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board charging Google’s upper management with “misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints”.

    Damore argues that biological differences cause women to be underrepresented in tech and not bias and discrimination. He noted 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”.

    “There was a concerted effort among upper management to have a very clear signal that what I did was harmful and wrong and didn’t stand for Google,” Damore explained. “It would be career suicide for any executives or directors to support me.”

    Despite Silicon Valley companies pontificating on “workforce diversity” in an industry dominated by white men with Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other tech companies regularly releasing “diversity reports”, the gender balance has not improved.

    Monday, on the same day that Damore was fired by Google, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that the memo’s author violated company rules but added paradoxically that it was “not OK” for employees to feel that they can’t “safely express their views (especially those with a minority viewpoint)”.

    The internal memo entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber – How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion”, the engineer argues that gender differences “aren’t just socially constructed”.

    The author says that this policy is based on ideology and not on rationality and cites scientific studies which find that men and women (as categories, not as specific persons) are unequal in several social perspectives.

    He argues too that cultural bias alone can not explain the gap, and it does not make sense to strive for equal group representation in all occupations. Google’s policy, he rightly points out, is based on an unfounded ideology, not on science.

    For all the talk about inclusiveness and diversity, the reality is that if you’re not white or Asian, you have only a 5 percent chance to be part of Google’s leadership team. And while 31 percent of Google’s employees are women, only 20 percent of its technical employees are.

    When it comes to computer and mathematical occupations, the numbers clearly show that women and men are not equally represented. In 1960 women held 27 percent of such jobs, and thirty years later, they held 35 percent.

    In 2013, the number of women in computing and mathematical occupations had fallen back to 26 percent, and clearly not because fewer women are going to college.

    A Department of Education study from 2014 shows more women than men are attending and graduating from college, but women and men choose differently. A recent Georgetown University study showed over 80 percent of petroleum engineering majors are male. So are almost 70 percent of those majoring in mathematics and computer science.

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