Anti-diversity manifesto at Google

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6079_Smith_W
Anti-diversity manifesto at Google

I'm not going to bother giving all the background on this. What I find really surprising is the number of articles coming out this morning which claim the manifesto-writer was correct - that women are more neurotic, less able to handle stress, less able to negotiate and lead, and less driven, and not as good with numbers as men. Apparently this is based in science and a good reason why we should not expect as many of them in the tech sector. If you don't agree you are just denying objective fact, and part of the witch hunt.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/09/google-diversity-memo...

As for what is really going on:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/08/google-women-discrimi...

ygtbk

If anyone actually wants to read the real memo, they can (for the time being) find it here:

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-E...

I can't imagine why it's so difficult to find the original source document instead of media summaries.

6079_Smith_W

It isn't hard. That's why there is a link to that exact same document in the first Guardian piece. Top of the fourth paragraph.

Sorry, but it isn't a case of either the media, or me enabling the echo chamber and hiding the truth by covering up the real manifesto. And no worry about it disappearing As the article says, it has gone viral, and I expect MRAs and others will be keeping it circulating.

6079_Smith_W

And apparently this is also being discussed here:

http://rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/high-tech-indust...

NorthReport

Let's continue this topic here

 

NorthReport

!!

 

NorthReport

!!

 

Boze

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I'm not going to bother giving all the background on this. What I find really surprising is the number of articles coming out this morning which claim the manifesto-writer was correct - that women are more neurotic, less able to handle stress, less able to negotiate and lead, and less driven, and not as good with numbers as men. Apparently this is based in science and a good reason why we should not expect as many of them in the tech sector. If you don't agree you are just denying objective fact, and part of the witch hunt.

Julia Galef had a great response that highlights what I think is a big part of the problem with much of the response to this: the lack of basic statistical literacy in the general population.

https://juliagalef.com/2017/08/08/brief-thoughts-on-the-google-memo/

Julia Galef wrote:

I’d actually be less disappointed if the critics’ response had simply been “Look, you can’t talk about gender differences at work.” As a general rule, I hate to ban topics, but I can see how this one could have harmful effects. Human psychology appears to be such that if you acknowledge that a mean skill level is even slightly higher in group A than group B, we waaaay over-update, and act as if all individual A’s are higher-skill than all B’s. So perhaps talking about the possible existence of group differences is just too damaging to be worth it.

So as far as I can see, there are only two intellectually honest ways to respond to the memo:

1. Acknowledge gender differences may play some role, but point out other flaws in his argument (my preference)

2. Say “This topic is harmful to people and we shouldn’t discuss it” (a little draconian maybe, but at least intellectually honest)

Unfortunately most people have taken option 3, “Pretend there is no evidence of gender differences relevant to tech and only a sexist could believe otherwise.”

It's particularly sad because the author of the memo went out of his way to explicitly deny that he was making most of the assertions that people are accusing him of making.

Regarding neuroticism: In personality psychology, neuroticism is a measurable personality trait in the Big 5 and Five-Factor models, roughly defined as tendency to experience negative emotion. People can reasonably disagree about exactly what it is that measures of neuroticism are measuring, and people can reasonably disagree about how to interpret the factor analysis from which the big 5 traits were derived (there is also a big six model, for example), and people can reasonably disagree about the degree to which differences in these traits are caused by genetic differences as opposed to socialization, but I haven't seen a reasonable case that the approach itself is invalid or that the traits themselves don't exist or aren't manifestations of some genuine underlying psychological reality.

When you score people on measures of neuroticism, it turns out that the trait follows what is called a "normal distribution," a bell curve with most of the population falling close to the average score and progressively fewer individuals occupying positions closer to the extremes. It also turns out that if you look at the distributions of scores on measures of neuroticism for men and for women, the distribution for women is shifted slightly to the right - meaning women are, on average, somewhat more prone to negative emotion than men are. Note that knowing this doesn't allow you to make any justified inferences about whether any individual man or woman is higher or lower in neuroticism than any other individual, or higher or lower than the average. Damore goes out of his way to make this point in the memo as well. He even uses a graphic.

There are other measured gender differences in the big 5 traits as well. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149680/

This is "based in science." Of course, people are free to disagree. However, I haven't seen any serious attempts to actually refute the argument that these differences exist. I have, however, seen plenty of hand-waving and dismissal and assertions that only a sexist would even be interested in studying the question of gender differences in personality traits. I have also seen plenty of mischaracterization of what Damore actually wrote.

Because it sadly seems as though people are perfectly comfortable commenting on this issue even if they haven't read the memo in question, merely leaving a link to the memo does not seem like enough, so I will actually quote the TL;DR section from the beginning of the memo.

James Damore wrote:
TL;DR

● Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
● This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
● The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
○ Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
○ Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
● Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don't have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.
● Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

I believe that one of the ideas that is "too sacred to be honestly discussed" is the belief that any differences between people, or between groups, must be entirely due to social/environmental factors.

There is a reasonable conversation to be had here, and this need not be a left-right issue. It is not always the case that a lack of equal representation must be entirely caused by discrimination or oppression. Suppose that a job requires working long hours. Suppose also that there are more men who are willing to work long hours than there are women (this happens to be true, for what it's worth). This means that, all else being equal, more men will come to occupy such positions than women. Law firms and tech firms struggle with precisely this problem. They cannot find a way to retain many of their top women, because women who are willing to give their employer 60+ hours a week are much more rare than men who are willing to do so. To me, the question is not "how can we get more women into these positions," it's "why is anybody willing to do this work, which most of the population (both male and female) is unwilling to do?"

Of course, having this conversation does not preclude also examining the actual discrimination that takes place, the social basis for gender differences, or what factors might be at play in discouraging women from pursuing certain careers. But raising these issues won't get someone accused of creating a hostile work environment. Yet you have commentators saying that merely suggesting that there are gender differences in the distribution of personality traits is equivalent to insulting the intelligence and ability of all your female coworkers. That's a problem, and it would be nice if the media coverage of this memo were not actively making this problem worse.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I do get that Google pretty much had to fire the guy (as I said in another thread).

But it's also interesting that some people seem to believe that if an employee is caught stealing, that's a time for "progressive discipline" -- because, I suppose, some people simply have NO IDEA that stealing is wrong, and must be gently taught this, with several opportunities to "learn". 

But if someone thinks women aren't as good at math as they are, the only reasonable option is dismissal.

6079_Smith_W

Nah. There's a fourth option. Point out that his leap of logic is not valid.

His argument doesn't make much sense, even accepting that there are some differences across the population. Because within that population there are plenty of women capable of thinking rings around guys like us.

So he is extrapolating data about the entire population of men and women, and trying to apply it directly to a specialized workplace. Sorry, but that is as goofy as everything else in his manifesto.

To take a starker difference as a comparison, men are ten times more likely to be colour blind than women - one in 12 of us, as compared to 1 in 200 of them.  So why is a career that depends on colour vision - law enforcement - dominated by men and not women?

If it is all comes down to talent and ability, that is.

 

ygtbk

6079_Smith_W wrote:

It isn't hard. That's why there is a link to that exact same document in the first Guardian piece. Top of the fourth paragraph.

Sorry, but it isn't a case of either the media, or me enabling the echo chamber and hiding the truth by covering up the real manifesto. And no worry about it disappearing As the article says, it has gone viral, and I expect MRAs and others will be keeping it circulating.

Thanks, Smith. My perhaps less than perfect joke related to the difficulty of Googling it. Maybe I did it wrong.

6079_Smith_W

That's cool, and sorry for the presumption.

Boze

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Nah. There's a fourth option. Point out that his leap of logic is not valid.

His argument doesn't make much sense, even accepting that there are some differences across the population. Because within that population there are plenty of women capable of thinking rings around guys like us.

Of course there are. No one is disputing this. What exactly do you think his argument *is*? He didn't say anything about men who work at Google vs. women who work at Google. These are both non-random self-selected populations. He was commenting on the number of men vs. the number of women who work at Google, and attempting to put forward a possible explanation for why Google finds it so difficult to recruit and retain equal numbers of male and female employees, in a context where the only competing explanations being put forward are systemic discrimination and oppression.

Quote:
So he is extrapolating data about the entire population of men and women, and trying to apply it directly to a specialized workplace. Sorry, but that is as goofy as everything else in his manifesto.

He didn't do this at all. Can you quote me what from the memo leads you to conclude that he was attempting to do this?

Quote:
To take a starker difference as a comparison, men are ten times more likely to be colour blind than women - one in 12 of us, as compared to 1 in 200 of them.  So why is a career that depends on colour vision - law enforcement - dominated by men and not women?

Assuming that the premise that a career in law enforcement depends on colour vision is true, the logical conclusion is that there are other factors at play that combine to have a greater impact than the rates of colour blindness (which is still pretty low, less than 10%, even among men).

edit: I also do not believe that anybody is saying it all comes down to talent and ability.

NorthReport

Consider this situation to be like smoking. It is no longer acceptable because it is unhealthy. 

NorthReport

And thanks smith for your comments. 

6079_Smith_W

If you can't identify the colour of a vehicle it is a problem. Plenty of police forces, including the RCMP, reject applicants with colourblindness.

So again, if the main reason why a workplace can't meet equal employment standards is because of physical limitations, why are there not more women than men police officers.

(of course, going by the false assumption that the numbers in the general population directly match what you would find in those interested in the tech sector).

 

Boze

6079_Smith_W wrote:
So again, the main reason why a workplace can't meet equal employment standards is because of physical limitations, why are there not more women than men police officers.

Like I already said: there are other factors at play that combine to have a bigger impact than colour blindness. That doesn't mean that colour-blindness doesn't disqualify more men than it does women, but even if colour-blindness is an absolute disqualifier, it doesn't cancel out whatever the other factors are. If the ~8% of men who are colour-blind were all cured of colour-blindness, that would presumably lead to even greater disparity in those police forces. Is there something unsatisfactory about this explanation?

I didn't say, and Damore didn't say, that the reason that a workplace can't meet equal employment standards is because of physical limitations.

Quote:
(of course, going by the false assumption that the numbers in the general population directly match what you would find in those interested in the tech sector).

This would be an example of the statistical illiteracy that Galef was bemoaning. There is no such assumption being made. Let's use the example of "willingness to work long hours" that I used before. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that 80% of men but only 40% of women are willing to work the requisite long hours to fill position X, and that only such people apply for the position. You will have a population of applicants of which 100% will be willing to work long hours, but you will have twice as many male applicants as female applicants, and, all else being equal, twice as many males will end up occupying those positions over the long run. Of course, all else is not equal and this is an extreme oversimplification for the sake of argument. But I hope you get my point.

Damore didn't say anything about the abilities of women who work at Google vs. the men who work at Google.

 

6079_Smith_W

He said that women had a harder time asking for raises, negotiating, speaking up, and leading.

He also speculated that women who report feeling anxiety at Google may be doing so because women are more neurotic and less able to handle stress than men.

And Boze, your numbers game is based on the assumption that hiring is going to correlate with how many people from specific groups apply. Hiring usually doesn't follow that pattern; women and people of colour are often discriminated against and shut out. That is the real reason for employment equity measures, not the false assumption that women can't do the job as well as men, or aren't interested.

 

 

 

Boze

6079_Smith_W wrote:
He said that women had a harder time asking for raises, negotiating, speaking up, and leading.

He also speculated that women who report feeling anxiety at Google may be doing so because women are more neurotic and less able to handle stress than men.

Oh yes, so he did. You are correct. Well, you would only expect the distribution of, for example, assertiveness (a sub-trait of extraversion) among Google employees to be different from that found in the general population if Google were selecting for or against assertiveness, or if assertiveness were correlated with other things that Google were selecting for or against, and the correlation between different personality traits in the big 5 model is actually quite low (which is a good thing for the model, because it means that by measuring one trait you're not measuring things you're not supposed to be measuring). More importantly you wouldn't expect the average difference between men and women who work at Google to be significantly different from the average difference between men and women in the general population - but I can't see any reason to expect them to be the same, either. There are just too many variables. This may be a potential flaw in his argument, although he did say that this "may" be a cause, and it may well be. But he certainly didn't say that you could assume from differences in the population that any given woman will be more or less assertive than anybody else.

But that women in general tend to have a harder time asking for raises and speaking up than men do, because they are less assertive, is pretty well-established, I would think. The question is what do we do about it? One possible solution is "just design society to socialize women to be more assertive." But that requires making certain assumptions about the role of socialization in determining personality. Another possible solution that doesn't require making those assumptions is to change the nature of the workplace and how wages are determined.

Boze

Quote:
And Boze, your numbers game is based on the assumption that hiring is going to correlate with how many people from specific groups apply. Hiring usually doesn't follow that pattern; women and people of colour are often discriminated against and shut out. That is the real reason for employment equity measures, not the false assumption that women can't do the job as well as men, or aren't interested.

Who seriously disputes that there exist jobs in which fewer women than men are interested? Coding, in particular, requires a very particular disposition that is more common in men than in women. This is not arguing against the existence of discrimination against women for coding positions! It is simply saying that discrimination cannot account for the entirety of the disparity. I don't believe it's possible to make a case that eliminating discrimination will result in perfect 50/50 splits in every job.

NorthReport

Smith is doing a good job with his comments but it would be helpful guys if we heard from women don't ya think!

NorthReport

In the meantime what I like about the firing is that it has become a news story which would not have happened without the firing

Shrewd move on google's part!

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I do get that Google pretty much had to fire the guy (as I said in another thread).

But it's also interesting that some people seem to believe that if an employee is caught stealing, that's a time for "progressive discipline" -- because, I suppose, some people simply have NO IDEA that stealing is wrong, and must be gently taught this, with several opportunities to "learn". 

But if someone thinks women aren't as good at math as they are, the only reasonable option is dismissal.

 

Cite your evidence for this and the rationale for you presenting such a comment, inference as such implied?

6079_Smith_W

The researcher cited in the memo has weighed in, calling the misinterpretation "surgically operating with an axe".

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-fires-engineer-over-anti-diversity...

Boze

I was actually disappointed in Schmitt's piece. He misinterprets Damore almost as if intentionally. It's like he either didn't read the memo, or was determined to read the memo as really trying to say more than it actually said - dispite Damore's disclaimers and other efforts to allay fears, such as pointing out that he explicitly was not trying to say what most of his critics are accusing him of saying.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Regardless if you agree with Damore or not, his firing was based less on his ideas - although they are incompatible with his employer's - and more on his method of disseminating them. Taking his concerns about company policy to the correct channels is one thing - sending a company-wide memo that creates an HR nightmare*, then having that leak into the public sphere and create a PR nightmare in turn is quite another.

If he were my employee, he'd be gone in a heartbeat on that basis alone.

*Here's a good run down of why this man is no longer employable in that workplace: https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e377...

Boze

Timebandit wrote:
Regardless if you agree with Damore or not, his firing was based less on his ideas - although they are incompatible with his employer's - and more on his method of disseminating them. Taking his concerns about company policy to the correct channels is one thing - sending a company-wide memo that creates an HR nightmare*, then having that leak into the public sphere and create a PR nightmare in turn is quite another.

If he were my employee, he'd be gone in a heartbeat on that basis alone.

*Here's a good run down of why this man is no longer employable in that workplace: https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-manifesto-1e377...

This might be fine for most workplaces, but Google has long marketed itself as a place where employees are free to speak their minds to an unusual degree.

It's also interesting to see progressives defend the firing of an employee for speaking his mind. Workplaces ought to be democracies, and ought to have constitutions, and those constitutions ought to guarantee things like the right to free speech.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

He wasn't fired for speaking his mind. He was fired for actions potentially damaging to his employer.

He could have spoken his mind through appropriate channels. He chose to express himself via inappropriate means and thereby damaged his employer's reputation and caused further problems in having him work with his colleagues. I don't care if he went left or right with his opining, he was inappropriate and cost time, aggravation and money. These are excellent reasons to let someone go.

It's also clear that someone with that big a problem with the ethos the employer is trying to create is simply not a good fit for that workplace.

6079_Smith_W

Boze wrote:

I was actually disappointed in Schmitt's piece. He misinterprets Damore almost as if intentionally.

Like astronomers misinterpret flat earthers, you mean? Damore's whole nonsense line about women not being able to do the job is based on a mis-reading of Schmitt's research. I think he understands a bit better what it means, and what it does not mean.

As for being able to say and do anything in your workplace (including implying that your co-workers aren't fit for the job, and only there because of dictatorial policies) it isn't actually an infringement on free speech. He can do it on his own time.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/21/canada-judge-bernd-zabel-t...

As for those poor neurotic women who can't negotiate, lead, speak up, handle stress, or compete with men:

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/aug/10/how-the-tech-industry-wr...

 

Boze

Timebandit wrote:
He wasn't fired for speaking his mind. He was fired for actions potentially damaging to his employer.

That is not what has been said by Google's leaders.

Quote:
He could have spoken his mind through appropriate channels. He chose to express himself via inappropriate means and thereby damaged his employer's reputation and caused further problems in having him work with his colleagues. I don't care if he went left or right with his opining, he was inappropriate and cost time, aggravation and money. These are excellent reasons to let someone go.

I don't know if you have familiarized yourself with the situation, but this is not accurate. He shared it with a few people through private channels. Someone else then shared it to an internal site on which employees have been told to feel free expressing their opinions. I hate to be snarky, but...oh wait, no I don't hate to be snarky at all: Please try to keep up.

Quote:
It's also clear that someone with that big a problem with the ethos the employer is trying to create is simply not a good fit for that workplace.

The memo makes clear that he is on board with the ethos, so what are you even talking about? You are guilty of giving credence to what others have said about this memo rather than taking the time to read the thing yourself. You should be ashamed.

Boze

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Like astronomers misinterpret flat earthers, you mean? Damore's whole nonsense line about women not being able to do the job is based on a mis-reading of Schmitt's research. I think he understands a bit better what it means, and what it does not mean.

He doesn't make any claims about women's ability to do the job. You are dishonest and stupid and I will not waste any further time on you.

6079_Smith_W

Further to the things he clearly said about women's ability to do the job (which I already outlined in the OP), he said that google's hiring practices lower the bar for women. What is his meaning here? That by his false reckoning women who are less able to do a good job will be hired.

Of course it is complete crap, because just because you want to fill x positions with men and y with women doesn't mean any different standard is necessary. It is not just a baseless criticism of the company, it is an attack on his co-workers to say that they are not held to the same standard as men.

(and here I thought men - especially coders who went to Harvard -  were supposed to be good with basic mathematical concepts and understand simple stuff like this)

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Of course it is complete crap, because just because you want to fill x positions with men and y with women doesn't mean any different standard is necessary. It is not just a baseless criticism of the company, it is an attack on his co-workers to say that they are not held to the same standard as men.

Well, that's the problem with quotas (and saying "we want x men and y women" is a quota, or else what's a quota?).

On the one hand, if discrimination and similar is why the numbers aren't working out as predicted by demographics, it may very well be that eliminating that discrimination is all that would be needed to make "x" and "y" the numbers they ought to be.

But if, say, Canada decided that its next Olympic team should have equal numbers of 50-somethings and 20-somethings, I think we'd intuitively understand that the only way to do that *might* be to change the standards for inclusion.

I don't claim to know what's the case at Google.  But that's a pretty basic problem with quotas -- without a lot more information that we feel we can trust, it's hard to know if quotas are being met by removing barriers to otherwise perfectly qualified groups, or by lowering the bar enough to get the "right" number of them.

6079_Smith_W

Actually it isn't a problem with quotas, unless one is working under the false assumption that there are no qualified women around.

But then, this is a guy who makes similar assumptions about a pool of applicants based on a study about a whole population, so I am not surprised he 's a bit short on math skills. I'm just curious how he cut it at Harvard.

Why are the quotas there? I don't think it is because they are hunting under every rock because they can't find a qualified woman. It is because they have been studiously ignoring the ones who are already there, and harrassing and underpaying those who do get hired.

That is also why they might be getting sued.

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Actually it isn't a problem with quotas, unless one is working under the false assumption that there are no qualified women around.

I'm not assuming one way or the other, because I don't know.

I'm only saying that it's possible that there aren't more women coding for Google because of inherent biases in their organization OR because there aren't enough qualified women coders.  Honest to Gord, I don't KNOW which is the case.  I'm only pointing out that neither case is implausible.

But just for fun, did you know that 74.4% of players in the NBA are black, even as only 13.3% of the U.S. population is black?  Sometimes the demographics don't work out the way basic math would predict, or else why that discrepancy, and what's everyone supposed to do to fix it?  Latinos/Latinas actually outnumber blacks in the U.S., but I'm not sure I can even think of a Latino NBA player. 

Is the problem one of discrimination and bias?  Or something else??  I think we've become accustomed to assuming there cannot be a something else.

6079_Smith_W

I'm talking about Damore's assumption, which is that in order to meet the quota it would mean reducing standards for women. He says it. There is nothing to support that.

And I already posted another reason why there might not be as many women around. Bottom link at #29.

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

.oh wait, no I don't hate to be snarky at all: Please try to keep up.

 

Boze, I appear to be the only woman taking part in this thread, which happens to be in the Feminist Forum. It would be a really good idea to refrain from being condescending to me from here on out. 

Furthermore, I've read the memo. Your interpretation of remarks is beyond generous. He very clearly states that women aren't up to the job when it comes to tech and complains about people of colour. His caveats are empty because of the spoiled bro-dude bullshit that follows them. It's disingenuous at best. And he's doubled down further in interviews online with alt-right MRA types. So you're dead fucking wrong on this.

but that's not going to stop you from telling us, here in the feminist forum, what does and does not constitute sexism. That is not your place, little man. I invite you to go fuck yourself. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Also - the researcher behind the paper Damore used to back up his oh so dispassionate analysis of male/female difference says he got it wrong. Confirmation bias sucks, doesn't it?

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-fires-engineer-over-anti-diversity...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

And further to all of the above, the stunt in the first place is a fireable offense before you get to the obviously toxic content. Just thought I should reiterate that for Boze, in case he can't keep up. Hoping I've kept the vocabulary simple enough for him. 

6079_Smith_W

Interesting article about the process to fire him. Apparently they had to cancel a planned meeting on gender equality to deal with his tantrum:

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/10/16125452/google-sundar-pichai-fire-jame...

Good mic drop:

(Pro tip to Damore: Calling women neurotic, when it appears you might be way down that psychological alley, is a rookie error in blogging and really sunk you most of all.)

And speaking of which, now he is comparing Google to a Soviet forced labour camp. Maybe Assage won't hire him after all:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/10/16127968/fired-google-engineer-compar...

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

A little more on how wrong-headed and full of shit Damore's memo is: 

Some critics sided with Damore. For example, columnist Ross Douthat of the New York Times found his scientific arguments intriguing.

But are they? What are the real facts? We have been researching issues of gender and STEM (science, technology engineering and math) for more than 25 years. We can say flatly that there is no evidence that women’s biology makes them incapable of performing at the highest levels in any STEM fields.

Many reputable scientific authorities have weighed in on this question, including a major paper in the journal Science debunking the idea that the brains of males and females are so different that they should be educated in single-sex classrooms. The paper was written by eight prominent neuroscientists, headed by professor Diane Halpern of Claremont McKenna College, past president of the American Psychological Association. They argue that “There is no well-designed research showing that single-sex education improves students’ academic performance, but there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism.”

They add, “Neuroscientists have found few sex differences in children’s brains beyond the larger volume of boys’ brains and the earlier completion of girls’ brain growth, neither of which is known to relate to learning.”

...

Throw in the facts that, according to research, competent men are seen as likeable, while competent women are seen as bitchy, that women get less credit for their accomplishments than men do, that men are often promoted on promise while women get elevated only on the basis of performance, and that sexual harassment is a constant problem for women in tech.

All of these are issues that males simply do not have to face. The “anxiety gap” exists for a reason, and it is not about biology.

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/11/16127992/google-engineer-memo-research-...

pookie

Boze wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

He could have spoken his mind through appropriate channels. He chose to express himself via inappropriate means and thereby damaged his employer's reputation and caused further problems in having him work with his colleagues. I don't care if he went left or right with his opining, he was inappropriate and cost time, aggravation and money. These are excellent reasons to let someone go.

I don't know if you have familiarized yourself with the situation, but this is not accurate. He shared it with a few people through private channels. Someone else then shared it to an internal site on which employees have been told to feel free expressing their opinions. I hate to be snarky, but...oh wait, no I don't hate to be snarky at all: Please try to keep up.

Bolded is incorrect (per my spouse who works for Google). Damore create the memo as a "GO" doc which makes it instantly available to the tens of Ks of employees who have access to Alphabet's internal network worldwide.  It languished here for a month (not unusual given the sheer scale of docs that are uploaded every day) before a few employees noticed and took exception, and started to vent about it on social media.

Personally, I first would have tried for a consequence less severe than dismissal.  But the work culture at Google which is highly collegial and involves things like real peer review for promotion, would have made thatr very difficult.  Basically the company would have had to isolate him and take incoming fire from the opposite direction.  Of course they are now taking it from the predictable sources, but I think it was a reasonable decision.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

As I've said, I get why Google had to fire the guy. 

But I do also wonder:  had (let's say) a female coder written a document lamenting the "dude-bro" culture at Google, the ineffectiveness of Google's diversity initiatives, and the ways she thinks she's a better coder than the men she works with, and then openly posted it publicly instead of going through proper channels, would Google still have fired her, and would it be just as understandable to all?

I guess what I'm really wondering is to what degree the REAL problem wasn't what Damore said, but only the way he chose to say it.

Boze

Quote:
Furthermore, I've read the memo. Your interpretation of remarks is beyond generous. He very clearly states that women aren't up to the job when it comes to tech and complains about people of colour. His caveats are empty because of the spoiled bro-dude bullshit that follows them. It's disingenuous at best. And he's doubled down further in interviews online with alt-right MRA types. So you're dead fucking wrong on this.

He complains about people of colour? Wha?

Are we reading the same memo? The person who wrote that piece for Recode certainly didn't read the same memo that I did, because Damore didn't say anything that could be interpreted as "women’s biology makes them incapable of performing at the highest levels in any STEM fields." That's just dishonesty. They are lying. Read the memo. He very clearly DOES NOT say that women are not up to the job, and he suggests alternative strategies for increasing the number of women in tech positions.

What Damore is saying is that there is something about the jobs at Google as they are currently structured that attracts more men than women. Ergo, if the goal is to have closer to a 50/50 split of men and women (OR to have a greater number of any currently-underrepresented group) change the job, rather than engage in discrimination to balance things out. This is, again, something that people can reasonably disagree about. Let's focus on what Damore did say, rather than what he didn't say.

Timebandit, if I am being "generous" in interpreting the memo, I am only trying to apply the principle of charity. I submit that others are doing the opposite - interpreting the memo as having said things it doesn't say, to paint attempts to challenge equity and diversity policies as fundamentally motivated by prejudice and ignorance.

Paladin1

Edit: see nothings changed here.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Boze, I get that it's hard to read with you head that far up your ass, but you have missed something that clearly everyone else who's read it picked up. Dude says women are biologically too anxious for leadership etc and complains about having to be sensitive to POC. Zunger - one of the links I've posted - points out how this makes him pretty much unemployable in that workplace. A workplace that is attempting to change the dudebro culture that is pervasive in tech. 

Further, can you kindly take the denialism out of the feminist forum?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I've said, I get why Google had to fire the guy. 

But I do also wonder:  had (let's say) a female coder written a document lamenting the "dude-bro" culture at Google, the ineffectiveness of Google's diversity initiatives, and the ways she thinks she's a better coder than the men she works with, and then openly posted it publicly instead of going through proper channels, would Google still have fired her, and would it be just as understandable to all?

I guess what I'm really wondering is to what degree the REAL problem wasn't what Damore said, but only the way he chose to say it.

Ultimately, its a combination of the two. If you read Zunger, it gives you a pretty good breakdown of how management at Google may have approached it. Either way, creating hostility in the workplace and working against a stated HR objective is a great way to get fired. What surprises me is that Damore didn't get that. 

Boze

What's denialism? Damore's memo

1) Acknowledges that sexism and discrimination exist
2) Acknowledges that trying to increase workplace diversity is a laudable goal and offers several suggestions
3) Doesn't say the things you're saying.

It's also hardly the case that "everyone else who's read it" agrees. The first post in this thread was expressing surprise at how many people have said that Damore was basically correct. I mean we could go through the memo line by line to establish whether or not it says what you say it's saying, but that seems like overkill, doesn't it? Nevertheless, I don't know how else to proceed when some people read the memo one way and other people read it very differently.

I just don't think this guy is the right-winger you're trying to portray him as and I don't think appearing on Molyneux's youtube program shows that (Noam Chomsky, Gabor Mate and plenty of other reasonable people have also appeared on that program). He wrote a very reasonable memo that is being taken completely out of context because it touched the third rail that is gender personality differences and biology. Questions of biology vs socialization aside, does anybody seriously deny that women are, on average, more prone to anxiety than men? This, at least, is pretty much settled science - but it says nothing about women's ability to work in tech as well as men, and Damore didn't say that it does. That would be highly offensive, but Damore didn't say it.

pookie

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I've said, I get why Google had to fire the guy. 

But I do also wonder:  had (let's say) a female coder written a document lamenting the "dude-bro" culture at Google, the ineffectiveness of Google's diversity initiatives, and the ways she thinks she's a better coder than the men she works with, and then openly posted it publicly instead of going through proper channels, would Google still have fired her, and would it be just as understandable to all?

I guess what I'm really wondering is to what degree the REAL problem wasn't what Damore said, but only the way he chose to say it.

If it had gone viral in the same way - and depending on how she framed her argument - very possibly.  

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The memo was not reasonable. It has not been taken out of context. It has not been blown out of proportion. He really did say that pursuing equity in gender representation was pointless due to biological reasons, heavily implying his female colleagues were just not meant for tech. If you have difficulty understanding anything but literalism, there's not much we can do for you. Oh, and the caveats? Classic disingenuous CYA bullshit.

He cherrypicked outdated and disproven science to make claims about sex differences that are incorrect and deeply prejudiced. I will not argue this further in the FEMINIST FORUM. If you can't have the conversation from a pro-feminist point of view - which is the mandate of this forum - then get the fuck out of the forum. 

Boze

Timebandit wrote:
The memo was not reasonable. It has not been taken out of context. It has not been blown out of proportion. He really did say that pursuing equity in gender representation was pointless due to biological reasons, heavily implying his female colleagues were just not meant for tech. If you have difficulty understanding anything but literalism, there's not much we can do for you. Oh, and the caveats? Classic disingenuous CYA bullshit.

He cherrypicked outdated and disproven science to make claims about sex differences that are incorrect and deeply prejudiced. I will not argue this further in the FEMINIST FORUM. If you can't have the conversation from a pro-feminist point of view - which is the mandate of this forum - then get the fuck out of the forum. 

What science is outdated?

It is NOT anti-feminist to say that, on average, women tend to score higher on measures of some personality traits than men do and vice versa (this is indisputable), or that this may have a biological basis (this is harder to determine, but not anti-feminist, because it's still an empirical question).

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