The issue of diversity and inclusion in tech is what designers call a wicked problem. It's a cluster of systemic and individual biases, compounded by years of denial, complicated by changing socioeconomic forces. Still, that's no excuse--especially since Silicon Valley prides itself on solving impossible problems, and given its exceptional influence in the business community and around the world. Aubrey Blanche (@adblanche) is global head of diversity and inclusion at Atlassian. She is an advisor to the SheStarts accelerator and Joonko, and is the co-founder of Sycamore, a community focused on closing the funding gap for underrepresented founders.
An anonymous note accusing Google of embracing diversity while chilling intellectual freedom has unleashed a flood of divergent opinions and proves not everyone inside the tech giant toes the company line. The 10-page memo, writtten by a male engineer and widely shared internally, was eventually leaked to Gizmodo. In it, the author slams the tech giant's "left bias" for having created a "politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence." The engineer, who has not been identified publicly, argues that gender disparities in Google's workforce can be explained by biological differences between men and women. The memo asserts Google should replace its existing diversity efforts with policies to allow for more "ideological diversity."
James Damore, the Google engineer who penned an anti-diversity manifesto that has shaken Silicon Valley, is seeking'legal remedies' after his firing. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is struggling to hire and retain underrepresented minorities -- particularly women of color -- despite repeated promises over the last four years to make its workforce reflect the billions of people it serves around the globe. Women of color remain the least represented demographic at Google and significantly trail their male counterparts of the same ethnicity in the Internet giant's U.S. workforce, according to Google's annual diversity report released Thursday. Google has made few strides in increasing the number of Blacks, Hispanics and Latinos, who are not only being hired at lower rates, but are leaving at higher rates than other employees. Executives, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, are pledging to redouble diversity efforts and plan to make women of color an "intentional focus," with the goal of reaching "available talent pools at all levels," says Google's diversity chief Danielle Brown.
James Damore, the Google employee who was fired after circulating an anti-diversity memo last August, isn't over his dismissal apparently as he has now filed a lawsuit against his former employer. Damore filed a class-action complaint today in a California court alongside another former Google employee, David Gudeman. Both men say they were "ostracized, belittled and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males."
Silicon valley has a diversity problem. Sexism and racism are everywhere in the technology sector, and it's time to put an end to it. The Internet Association, a lobbying group for some of the biggest names in tech (think Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, Google and Twitter) has promised to hire a new person to focus on these issues. According to Recode, the new push comes in response to the threat of regulation from the Congressional Black Caucus.