- The issue of gender equality in Silicon Valley was forced to the forefront after the firing last month of Google software engineer James Damore
- The founder of start-up incubator Y Combinator, Paul Graham, defended the science behind Damore’s memo
- James Altizer, an engineer at the chip maker Nvidia, said: ‘It’s a witch hunt’
Silicon Valley has seen a backlash against gender diversity and the growth of a men’s rights movement.
The issue of gender equality in Silicon Valley was forced to the forefront after the firing last month of Google software engineer James Damore who wrote a controversial 3,300-word manifesto on women in the work place.
The founder of start-up incubator Y Combinator, Paul Graham, defended the science behind Damore’s memo while start-up investor John Durant wrote that ‘Charles Darwin himself would be fired from Google for his views on the sexes,’ according to the New York Post.
The issue of gender equality in Silicon Valley was forced to the forefront after the firing last month of Google software engineer James Damore (pictured) who wrote a controversial 3,300-word manifesto on women in the work place
Investor Eric Weinstein tweeted, ‘Dear @Google, Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.’
And James Altizer, an engineer at the chip maker Nvidia, said: ‘It’s a witch hunt,’ according to the New York Times.
Mr. Altizer now hosts meetings to discuss men’s issues with more than 200 members and is active on men’s rights Facebook pages.
The backlash against gender diversity in the tech sector comes after James Damore was terminated by Google last month for violating the company’s code of conduct.
Investor Eric Weinstein tweeted, ‘Dear @Google, Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR’
In a statement, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said at the time: ‘portions of the memo violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.’
Damore’s controversial manifesto – which was first published by technology news site Motherboard – divided opinion since it went viral on social media.
Damore, who graduated from Harvard in 2013 with a doctoral degree in systems biology, had noted that women could not get ahead at Google because of ‘biological differences’.
It prompted backlash from Google’s new head of diversity, Danielle Brown, who denounced the memo in her own note to staff.
Many have argued that the engineer’s memo was proof of the sexist, male-driven structures that Silicon Valley has become known for in recent months.
Others said Damore’s concern that the company was too left-leaning was legitimate. Some also claim he is the voice of many conservative employees who are too scared to speak out against Google’s politically correct policies because they fear they will lose their jobs.
‘DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN’ ACCORDING TO JAMES DAMORE’S MEMO
The following is an extract from engineer James Damore’s lengthy memo
Women, on average, have more:
- Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
- These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
- Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
- This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
- Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.
Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that ‘greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.’ Because as ‘society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.’ We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.
Men’s higher drive for status
We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.
Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail.
Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.