A 10-page memo criticizing Google’s diversity efforts was leaked from the company’s internal messaging system on Saturday, sparking widespread media attention and criticism from those who say the document exemplifies sexism within the tech industry. The anonymous message was later identified as having been written by James Damore, a software engineer with the multi-billion dollar company, which is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for systemic pay disparities between male and female employees.
The 3,300-word document, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” focuses primarily on issues of gender inclusion in the workplace and criticizes company policies and programs that aim to help women advance in their careers. In it, Damore blames biological differences between the sexes for the underrepresentation of women in the workplace as well as the pay gap. The author’s use of numerous stereotypes to justify his reasoning has drawn widespread criticism from the media; included among the memo’s statements is the idea that women are naturally more neurotic and emotional than men and are motivated primarily by relationships and work-life balance, rather than by professional aspirations. Damore also states that while he “strongly believes in gender and racial diversity,” the company’s inclusion efforts — including classes and mentoring programs for women and minorities — are discriminatory in nature by prioritizing “diversity candidates” over those of other demographics.
Google spokeswoman and Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance Danielle Brown — who was hired by the company in July — stated that the memo is an example of the tech industry’s traditionally exclusionary culture and does not reflect Google’s internal atmosphere or policies. Some Google employees took to social media and news outlets to share their thoughts on the memo, with some saying that it is a reflection of pervasive sexism within the tech industry at large and others saying it accurately represents Google’s internal culture.
Damore was fired from Google two days after the memo was leaked to the press. He announced that he plans to take legal action against the company for what he believes is wrongful termination.