Google has denounced an engineer’s memo blaming biological differences between sexes for the lack of women in leadership roles.
Executives released a statement after the memo stoked a heated debate over treatment of women in the male-dominated Silicon Valley.
The unnamed engineer wrote a 3,000-word document – that circulated inside the company – attacking political correctness.
“Googles (sic) left bias has created a politically correct monoculture,” the engineer wrote.
“Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we dont see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” the engineer added.
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The gender debate has boiled for months following sexual harassment scandals at Uber Technologies Inc and several venture capital firms.
Google’s recently hired vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, Danielle Brown, sent a memo in response to the furore.
She said the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.”
“Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions,” Ms Brown wrote.
“But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws,” she added.
Google engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh also wrote an internal post criticising the employee’s memo.
He said “stereotyping and harmful assumptions” could not be allowed to play any part in the company’s culture.
The episode has sparked debate on the proper limits of free speech in corporate environments.