Leaked Google memo causes overwhelming outrage

Controversy over a diversity memo from the world’s leading search engine


Mary Alphonse, Author

The current most popular search engine, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, may be in deep water with the leak of a memo written by James Damore, a Google software engineer. The memo entitled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,’ consisted of the personal opinions of Damore on Google’s diversity policies. The memorandum was initially supposed to be internal through Google’s employees but was leaked Saturday August 5 and immediately caused outrage due to the controversial reasons Damore gave on why Google has a shortage of women employees (the company’s employment is currently about 69 percent male).

The section of the memo that is drawing the most attention is entitled ‘Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech.’ This section voiced how Damore feels the lack of women employed in the technology field of Google is due to certain biological differences between men and women. He explains how women, on average, have higher anxiety and a lower stress tolerance which he suggests can hinder women from performing well in a tech position, which is usually high stress and quite demanding.

Besides the overwhelming public response, Business Insider gained the perspective of a female Google employee who goes by Lauren. Lauren explains that “it’s just really hard to have someone make baseless claims about your abilities in the workplace, and I think that’s what happened. And it’s hard to not feel like that’s an attack on you personally, and on us collectively.” In the memo, Damore lists many “scientifically proven” reasons on why women are less suited for a position in the tech field. Although, due to lack of citation, these claims have been strongly questioned.

Damore has since been fired and Google C.E.O. Sundar Pichai told Google employees, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to [Google’s] work is offensive and not OK.” Damore spoke out about his firing and why he thinks Google was in the wrong for it in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Damore took a more candid approach in his opinion piece, calling Google “almost like a cult.” He continues to spread his message to the media, doing interviews with Bloomberg, YouTube host Stefan Molyneux and more.

Google is still in the process of cleaning up the mess made by this leak and a meeting has yet to be held among Google employees to discuss the diversity issue.