back to article Google diversity memo: Web giant repudiates staffer's screed for 'incorrect assumptions about gender'

A Google engineer's 10-page argument for winding back diversity programs inside the ad giant has gone viral and sparked debate about whether Google really is an ideological echo chamber in which it's forbidden to ask whether efforts to promote diversity by denying biology are harming the business. Google execs have repudiated …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the company has declined"

    Oh really ? Of course, they can just do that. No problems. Nobody goes to jail for contempt, or anything. It's not like they have to answer the Court, right ? No. That was last millennium. Now we're modern. Companies decide the law, and which laws they want to respect. Doing what you're told is good for us peons.

    Damn it's good to be on top !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the company has declined"

      Chill down. They had a disagreement on how much data they had to compile to make the bureaucrats happy, now it's been settled on a smaller amount.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the company has declined"

        Agree, Google did not compile with the request for data because the request was basically "Give us all your data on everyone forever... we'll let you know what we're about after you turn the data over."

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      9.40 on a Monday morning and already 7 downvotes - don't these people have a sense of humour?

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Original post deleted by the moderator - someone else lacking a sense of humour? (post wasn't mine btw)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ◼️

          The main problem with ◼️ is that you end up employing some right old ◼️, and, like bed bugs and syphilis, once you've got them, they are absolute ◼️ to remove. Far better for morale to have ◼️, ◼️ and ◼️ ◼️ wafting around the C-Suite.

          We now put all the over-thirty ◼️ into an office affectionately known as 'the ◼️'. As a joke, new starters have to enter the ◼️ and demand one of them gets him a coffee. I think everyone appreciates both the humour and the necessary isolation this provides.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        9.40 on a Monday morning and already 7 downvotes - don't these people have a sense of humour?

        Well... not every reader of The Reg is in your timezone.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dare I say

    People should be employed for their abilities not their gender, race or value to some checklist.

    People who develop greater abilities through study should find greater opportunities in work, regardless of their gender, race or negative score on some diversity checklist.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Dare I say

      And when that obviously isn't happening, because your workforce is predominately white males but you know talent exists outside that group? Do you put up with not having the best people?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dare I say

        The problem is that the employment statistics for tech companies including google are not predominantly white male but reasonably closely match the distribtion of suitably qualified candidates which has quite a lot of asians along with not very many women. Targeting a profile which doesn't match the distribution of available talent is incompatible with the principle of having the best people.

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Dare I say

      Yeah... The issue is that a CV sent by a black woman gets less answers than the same exact CV sent by a white male. People's judgement is tainted by the race and gender of applicants. Which is unfair, right?

      That's why recruiters get unconscious bias training, and receive special instructions to check more carefully CVs sent by women and minorities. That's unequal treatment, but arguably, more fair.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dare I say

        It's more "fair" to some people than others. In other words, it's discriminatory.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Dare I say

          And white males, especially from financially privileged backgrounds, arrive for interviews with a tottering stack of privilege that others do not have. Which is much, much more discriminatory. Kapish?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Dare I say

            And white males, especially from financially privileged backgrounds, arrive for interviews with a tottering stack of privilege that others do not have.

            That's why we deliberately hire illeterate school drop puts. We found that many of the applicants for chief surgeon had attended elite medical schools.

            There was an interview on our local "women in tech" quango. Some poor (financially) women with a non-traditional education background (ie didn't finish school) had been marketed into borrowing $30k for a few week bootcamp to learn programming.

            She is then quoted "now when I apply for those jobs I know I have the skills". So when she loses out on the Google internship to somebody who has an MIT CS PhD or some kid who was reading Linux kernel source since the age of 10 and created a new language - it's because of discrimination.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dare I say

            "And white males, especially from financially privileged backgrounds, arrive for interviews with a tottering stack of privilege that others do not have."

            That sounds suspiciously like discrimination on grounds of race, gender and social background.

            Do as I say, not as I do?

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Dare I say

        "That's why recruiters get unconscious bias training, and receive special instructions to check more carefully CVs sent by women and minorities."

        Do they? How stupid. I thought the standard practice was to separate the personal data from the professional data and hide the former from those who evaluate the latter. You pick the best candidates and find out later who they actually are.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Dare I say

          That does not (and hasn't in the past) happen. It's only very recently where 'applicant X' is fed along to the HR department (but if your recruiter also has an unconscious bias, you still have the same problem).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dare I say

            The root of the problem is: there aren't many women/minorities willing, available, and qualified for tech jobs, particularly in high-pressure Silicon Valley. This is a result of personal priorities, culture, upbringing, and education (or lack thereof). It's a socially and genetically self-perpetuating condition. Expecting those companies to change it is hopelessly naive.

            Furthermore the dominance of privileged 99%-white 'social justice' jerks in Silicon Valley is repellent to racial minorities who adhere to more traditional cultural norms. They are part of the very problem they're ranting about.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dare I say

          "You pick the best candidates and find out later who they actually are."

          That just moves any "WASP" filtering to the first interview stage and wastes lots more of the hiring manager's time!

        3. Richocet

          Re: Dare I say

          I've recruited more than 50 positions in IT and tech during my 20 year career and I've never had access to separated data like you describe.

          The HR process is that I as the hiring manager and the recruitment panel are sent all the applicants CVs to work through.

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Dare I say

        eah... The issue is that a CV sent by a black woman gets less answers than the same exact CV sent by a white male. People's judgement is tainted by the race and gender of applicants. Which is unfair, right?

        And how pray does one tell from a CV that it was sent by a "black woman"? Was that information volunteered on the CV? If so, WHY?

        I have read my fair share of CV's and interviewed and hired people. In one particular case we had the recruiter strip names & dates of birth from the CV's sent to us to remove any "unconcious bias". The only one I personally ditched on a basis that could be called discriminatory was a CV/covering letter which was VERY long on explaining how important their religion was, and very short on explaining why their qualifications and experiance were relevant and why they would be good at the job.

        We interviewed four people, and recruited three. Two were the best qualified and interviewed well, the other had a good deal of relevant experiance and interviewed well. This turned out to be two men and a woman. That was purely based on CV's with names & DOB's stripped. A query for curiosities sake revealed that three woman had applied out of about 150 applications. The other two applications were discarded with about 120 other (male) CV's in the good old first pass method of "discard CV's with gross spelling mistakes as you've got to get the pile down to a sensible size somehow, and if you can't be assed to spellcheck your CV then your not likely to work hard."

        I'm not convinced that there is a huge level of deliberate discrimination. If there was, then somebody would be hiring all of these good candidates up and outperforming the companies that were deliberately excluding the best people from their workforce.

        What I think there is is a lack of woman wanting to work in IT and STEM generally, knowing a few of the sucessful woman in IT I think it's down to upbringing from way before school. The highly sucessful woman in IT & STEM that I know do their own servicing on their cars and are members of local engineering groups because engineer parents encouraged them to do non traditional things when they were younger and they enjoy it, and this is a far wider issue than "men are systematically excluding woman from STEM!".

        Hell, there could well be a measurable collelation between woman working in STEM and woman who were allowed/encouraged to play with lego & mecanno instead of dolls at the age of <5.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Dare I say

            "And how pray does one tell from a CV that it was sent by a "black woman"

            Commonly by the name, or if not sure then by checking Facebook / Linked-in.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dare I say

            "And how pray does one tell from a CV that it was sent by a "black woman"? "

            Lots of clues. Most commonly the name. Many people just file the foreign ones like that in the bin at first pass.

        2. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Dare I say

          And how pray does one tell from a CV that it was sent by a "black woman"?

          It's disengenuous to pretend there aren't dozens of clues to someone's gender, ethnicity,, age etc etc in CVs, starting with name and address, educational history, etc -- especially in the US where education still seems to be* startlingly segregated.

          * I may be wrong about that but it's the strong impression I have.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Tom Paine Re: Dare I say

            "....especially in the US where education still seems to be* startlingly segregated." I too was surprised to find the problem of segregation in US colleges is getting worse, not better, but the really surprising point was that it was self-segregation - blacks/PeopleOfColor/African-Amercians (delete as your sensitivities allow) insisting on having their own colleges, their own dorms, their own "safe spaces". The whole safe spaces problem wasn't created by the blacks/PeopleOfColor/African-Amercians, that was due to the ridiculous nature of modern colleges being desperate to avoid any form of confrontation, so people that might challenge/offend others' views are silenced rather than debated. Bigots in the blacks/PeopleOfColor/African-Amercians community seized on the safe spaces schpiel to create educational ghettos without realizing just how racist they are being.

            I have had some good, some bad, and some hilariously shocking experiences with graduates of black-only US colleges, especially considering that college is supposed to prepare a student for the business world. I had one such grad who seemed to assume the colour of her skin somehow guaranteed her equal standing with white and Asian colleagues that had far more experience and skill, and it was a real shock to her to be told that she had to earn advancement rather than have it handed to her on a plate. Her immediate response was to reflexively accuse the company of racism, which was disheartening because she had the ability, as she subsequently demonstrated, but her college had given her a very blinkered perspective.

        3. Bernard M. Orwell
          Headmaster

          Re: Dare I say

          "and if you can't be assed to spellcheck your CV then your not likely to work hard"

          You're

        4. Infernoz Bronze badge
          Stop

          Re: Dare I say

          @Peter2

          Innate sex specific preferences observed in unbiased baby studies strongly suggest that girls prefer a dolls and other typical female toys, and males preferred techical objects like Lego or Meccano, the Nordic feminist 'researchers' are full of manure.

          Even if some girls are competent at STEM, is it really a good idea for continue enabling young women to start/have further education or careers, where this independence enables the Hypergamy nature of women, which causes progressive psychological ruination that progressively poisons all future relationships with males, including (too late) marriage to a gullible Beta male with inadequate/no children, risky extended unprotected Estrogen exposure cause by late/no child birth and breast feeding, more genetic defect risks for late children, and many more divorces initiated by spoiled slut women?!

          No, the google employee is spot on, "SJWs always lie", it is time for all K-types to wake up, counter, and crush all the degenerate, lying r-type cults of feminists, SJWs, and Collectivists; which are also progressively destroying 1st world nations, including inadequate births of (typically smarter) native/founding people; 3rd world "replacement" immigration is the wrong answer because it is effective cultural suicide, they often have incompatible r-type culture, are often far less intelligent, and mostly troublesome young males! This 1st world female Hypergamy ruination is even progressively spreading to developing countries!

        5. Richocet

          Re: Dare I say

          I think you are right that there is not a lot of deliberate bias. There are exceptions where people hire their relatives (e.g. POTUS). Unconscious bias is a likely suspect for the other part.

          I'm not sure why you put quotes around unconscious bias. Was it meant to by cynical?

          The very nature of biases is that most of them are unconscious, which gives us the most ironic bias "bias blind spot". It's like an iceberg with the conscious biases being the part that is visible.

          The psychology is really interesting. It is also based on rigorous experimental observation, so don't be quick to dismiss them as hocum because you don't know much about them.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dare I say

        No , that's Biased and unfair, you're just flipping the switch

        No special treatment, all should be on equal footings.

        You should Google the following headline...

        "Blind recruitment trial to boost gender equality making things worse, study reveals"

        They ended up hiring mostly white males LOL

        MERITOCRACY NOW!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dare I say

      How about we focus on the tangible benefits of diversity? A team where everybody has the same background will probably all share some weaknesses, a diverse team is more likely to be able to cover one another's shortfalls.

      Sadly, the debate inevitably gets shut down before anyone gets to defend diversity in this manner so most people don't think about it that way.

      1. Infernoz Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Dare I say

        Diversity is not enough, because it is commonly rhetorically hijacked by Cultural Marxist disciples and useful SJW idiots. People having just different backgrounds is not enough, you must also ensure that they really are relevant, have merit, and can be trusted not to lie or deceive!

        SJWs like to sneak into organisations via diversity holes in organisational security, then gradually hijack the organisation e.g. via HR in business organisations! See the book "SJW always lie" and see why unchecked diversity can be dangerous!

    4. Tom Paine Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Dare I say

      People should be employed for their abilities not their gender, race or value to some checklist.

      A very common, and intuitive, response. Here are the reasons large, profit driven corporations aren't generally taking that approach:

      https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=the+problem+of+meritcracy+tech+industry&oq=the+problem+of+meritcracy+tech+industry

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dare I say

      I agree with you, but unfortunately it's not happening. Sometimes great people need a chance because we do tend to favor someone who is like us versus different. It's the same with vendor purchases and coding decisions.

      The reality is a lot of people have grown up in enclosed bubbles that never had anyone different than themselves. In Tech there are a limited amount of females and they are generally not on the tech side. When I was in my 30's I was more likely to hire a fellow 30 something versus a 50 year old if all things were equal based on my comfort and experience. I've also been less inclined to hire women because my entire upbringing had a separation of gender and I've mostly viewed females as potential mates, not as peers.

      Now factor in perceptions on race, gender, and age and you wind up with an office full of late 20's to mid 30's white males. I may have missed out on a unique perspective based on my internal history.

    6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Powernumpty Re: Dare I say

      ".....People who develop greater abilities through study should find greater opportunities in work, regardless of their gender, race....." That used to be the position of the SJWs when they were convinced that "fighting the class war" was the Right Thing To Do, but when that didn't quite work how they liked they moved the goalposts again. When "diversity programs" also don't heal all the World's ills they'll have to think of something else (actually forbidding white men to apply for jobs, probably) rather than admit the silliness of their ideas.

    7. Turbo Beholder
      Linux

      Re: Dare I say

      It sounds like you support BOFH's Unequal Opportunities Policy!

      He used to add "No offence." however. And even explained why.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm

    I think the reaction is actually demonstrating some of the points made.

    Anyone seen the film "Divergent"?

    some student unions have also become preventors of opinion and overzealous of crushing any debate. Creating a sort of equality "newspeak"

    I have sympathy with the point about differences in traits being equated to oppression too. A totalitarian approach to equality is not equality at all, indeed it may well be substantially worse than the problem.

    1. cyberdemon
      Devil

      Newspeak..

      This.

      Not to mention the Doublethink. It is almost a crime just to express an opinion that doesn't align with the HR/party line these days...

      About 7 years ago I was on a graduate scheme in a UK company which produced traffic light controllers. I had placements in Hardware (Electronics/Embedded), Software, Operations, Urban Traffic Control, Business Development, Legal, IT and HR.

      When I was on my placement in HR, they were busy preparing an Equality & Diversity policy, and I was brave/stupid enough to get into an argument with the head of HR.

      The policy encouraged so-called 'positive discrimination' towards minority groups, and I asked why it was necessary or even legal - She was quite offended that I had asked these questions, but said it was because "there are no women in engineering", because they are discriminated against - and the more the company could do to offset that, the better.

      Then I pointed out that despite her having no such policy in place previously, there were 4 women in the hardware/software engineering departments (out of about 25 engineers total) - which is not exactly parity but far from her claim of *no* women - but I notice in her HR team, of about 8, all of them (except for me) were women.

      She got quite angry/red and claimed not to have known about the 4 women in engineering (which I found hard to believe from the head of HR) and we got along about as well as cats for the rest of my employment..

      The problem, like others here have said, is much earlier on. It's pointless and quite counterproductive to try and make underqualified women feel 'entitled' to a job in tech, because recruitment should always be on merit. The problem is education, and making women and girls feel entitled to an *education* in tech.

      The worst case of gender skew was my computer science course at uni. Out of an intake of about 200 electronics / computer science students, 3 were female. And now we blame employers for the lack of women in tech??

  5. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The token conservative spoke out!

    I think Google needs to hire more political conservatives, more christians, more right-wingers, more Trump supporters, and more Republicans. That way, their "diversity" will more equally represent the entire population of the USA.

    same logic as hiring more women, simply based on generic demographics. A downvote storm will be a badge of honor, since it would just be the usual howler monkeys doing it...

    I am SO sick of this "diversity" crap. Yeah, let's mix an equal representation of materials found on the makeup of the entire planet next time we build something out of concrete. It's not *FAIR* that diatomacious earth isn't equally represented in the concrete mix... "iron mixed with clay" indeed, and not in a GOOD way [like rebar in re-enforced concrete], more like in an UNSTABLE and BRITTLE way.

    And THAT is what "diversity" does. It brings people into the mix that aren't necessarily there because they STRENGTHEN, but because it AVOIDS LAWSUITS [even when discrimination doesn't really exist].

    icon: me face-palming at the lameness of it all

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      Let me guess, you're a white male?

      1. Banksy

        Re: The token conservative spoke out!

        "Let me guess, you're a white male?"

        AIDS Skrillex is an El Reg commentard. You heard it here first.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell
        Trollface

        Re: The token conservative spoke out!

        "Let me guess, you're a white male?"

        Hey! Don't you go presuming this persons gender and race based on their name! that's discriminatory! They can choose the gender they want! He can identify as an eskimo if he wants!

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: The token conservative spoke out!

          Or an Apache Helicoper...

        2. Anonymous C0ward

          Re: The token conservative spoke out!

          > identify as an eskimo

          Inuit! (Eskimo is un-PC in Greenland and Canada, but more accepted in Alaska.)

    2. Tim Seventh

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      "And THAT is what "diversity" does. It brings people into the mix that aren't necessarily there because they STRENGTHEN, but because it AVOIDS LAWSUITS [even when discrimination doesn't really exist]."

      Within the 10 page manifesto, one of his point did interpret to emphasize on that, that the diversity in google is mostly based on numbers not for the well being of the employees.

      "The Harm of Google’s biases: Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race, A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates, Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate..."

      Yes. It would be better to change diversity to base on their advantage and strength rather than to meet a number game.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      That way, their "diversity" will more equally represent the entire population of the USA.

      Just so you know, Google makes most of its money outside of the US :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      Interesting, you were actually making a reasonable comment about employing more right wing christian conservatives to equal the bias of left wing* touchy feely employment rules.

      Then as if to justify your comment about getting down votes, you flip the switch and turn into the sort of right wing* shouty nutjob that actually gives the "normal" people you pretend to represent a bad name.

      *left / right wing. Usually used a sad attempt a killing an argument, in the same lines of you smell.

      1. daldred

        Re: The token conservative spoke out!

        "...you were actually making a reasonable comment about employing more right wing christian conservatives..."

        Er, no, actually - the suggestion was "I think Google needs to hire more political conservatives, more Christians, more right-wingers, more Trump supporters, and more Republicans.".

        You've put that into a subsubset of right wing Christian conservatives. On very many issues, Christians are usually more left-leaning than average; on others they may tend to align with the right.

        Admittedly that's sort of implied by the collection of groups listed - but the identification of 'christian' and 'right wing' is exactly the sort of lazy stereotyping which calls forth may of the over-simplistic approaches to diversity in the first place.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: The token conservative spoke out!

          BZZZZT, wrong.

          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/

          Self-identifying "Christians" broke 60/40 for Trump. (Scarequotes because, though I'm an atheist, my parents are churchwardens and I'm pretty sure teh electric chair, guns, and cutting off welfare and public services from black and brown people didn't feature strongly in Christian doctrine. )

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: The token conservative spoke out!

            @Tom Paine, re: your scarequotes...

            Christian isn't a well-defined term. (The Creed is a bit vague on many issues of contemporary importance.) It would be unkind to say that some people self-identify as Christian because no real Christian will do it for them, but...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      They also need to hire a fair number of thick-as-fuck people so their workforce matches the demographics of the USA...

    6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      I'm pretty sure i can type more words per minute than someone with no arms, regardless of their colour, gender or ethnicity.

      Unfortunately even gays aren't diverse enough anymore to these racist SJWs if we're white.

      http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/03/22/nus-tells-lgbt-societies-to-abolish-gay-mens-reps-because-they-dont-face-oppression/

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      How do you know what the criteria was for the hiring decision? The concept of diversity and inclusion means giving someone a shot at the interview versus the actual hire. It doesn't mean being forced to hire a "minority" to boost the numbers.

      Your thought that minorities and women can't be conservative or Trump supporters is a misunderstanding in itself. 51% of the people thought he was the better candidate.

      There was a time when Indians where not given a chance because of their names and dialect. Now they run the top tech companies.

      Ironically if the US had invested early in tech training for minorities and women you would have less immigration and H1B and a more stable American labor force. We'll see how well working at the Foxconn plant works out.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: The token conservative spoke out!

        "51% of the people thought he was the better candidate."

        If I recall correctly, he actually had less of the raw votes but more of the constituencies (apologies, right-pondian here and I don't recall the label the left-pondians use for that),

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: AC Re: The token conservative spoke out!

        "..... It doesn't mean being forced to hire a "minority" to boost the numbers....." Yeah, that's how it's supposed to happen, but the problem is management-by-numbers - "How do we know if our diversity program is working if we don't set some number goals, just tell HR they be fired if they don't hire X% of minorities." And then you get employment-by-numbers - "We have sixty able, white, male candidates but no self-declared black lesbian paraplegics, we'll have to cancel the interviews!" Don't get me wrong, I have had endless fun with HR teams that hire by other moronic rules (my fave was "It's a certain level of tech job so all applicatns must have a CS degree", neatly excluding better applicants with years of relevant experience in favour of clueless but recent grads), but the problem starts (and needs to end) with senior managements' slavish tendency for feel-good, fad policies.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: AC The token conservative spoke out!

          It's also how you got a Jewish quota for American universities from the 1920-60s and an unofficial Asian quota today

    8. InNY

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      <quote>I think Google needs to hire more political conservatives, more christians, more right-wingers, more Trump supporters, and more Republicans</quote>

      That's a lot of labels; you could just say more Republican WASP males and have done.

      <quote>same logic as hiring more women, simply based on generic demographics</unquote>

      Katherine G Johnson; Dorothy Vaughan; Mary Jackson; Ada Lovelace; Grace Hopper; Adele Goldberg; Betty Jennings; Mary Coombs; Ida Rhodes; Mary Shaw and so on and so on... Just to name but a few women who have advanced the computer sciences, and by extension, society, because they saw things the rest of us didn't. Exactly the same as all the men who advanced the computing sciences in exactly the same way.

    9. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: The token conservative spoke out!

      Way back in the early days of "diversity" there was reverse discrimination. You might not have been the best candidate but if you happened to tick some of the check boxes, you were in. There was a joke at the time that the ideal candidate was "a black woman (widow), low income, has a wooden leg and a PhD,"

  6. werdsmith Silver badge

    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.

    Hmmm, let's talk about primary school teachers, 4:1 female to male ratio. Is this because of differences in distribution of traits?

    1. Tim Seventh

      Looking back. With surveys on women and men college job picks, we could put down a 'maybe' to a 'yes' for that. There are more women working in nursing, caring and education. And there are more men working in driving, construction and manual labor.

      I wouldn't call it a 'trait', but I would call it a 'trend'. There is clearly a trend between women and men that they have different preferences. Those preferences cause unbalance diversity in exchange for different strength.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Trait or trend

        Is that a fashion 'trend'

        or a mathematical 'trend'.

        Just that one use of the term is nerdier than the other...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But is that trend there because of nature or nurture?

        Something that having XX chromosome predisposes you to?

        Or something that surrounds a girl growing up to become self-fulfilling?

        From http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB18273/nhs-staf-2015-healthcare-rep.pdf

        72% of GPs surgerys had men+women GPs

        But 98% of Nurses are female.

        Both working in Health Services and involve 1:1 interaction with patients, so why the imbalance there?

        These things stem from how children are brought up, what careers are presented to them, what career paths their peers opt for and how the job sector is likely to treat and reward them.

        No matter how physically strong and determined a woman was at being in construction I can't imagine a scenario where she would go to work day to day and not be treated vastly differently to her colleagues even if she shared the same skills and talent.

        Imagine that but with the incumbent team wearing suits and ties? It would still affect many people's decisions to pursue a career where they may in fact have to work harder and fight harder just to get equal treatment.

        The recent news that there is still a pay gap for women doing the same job in many sectors. How is that a thing? I'm not talking about individually negotiated contracts of stars who might have 1 or 2 million more viewers. But what about where there are pay scales declared and yet still they aren't paid the same for doing the same job?

        Saying that "women are from venus, men are from mars", should be kept for comedian's routines about forgetting anniversaries or books about love n'stuff. Other than very explicit edge cases there shouldn't be barriers (percieved or real) to women doing the same jobs as men.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Pay gap

          FYI, the "gender pay gap" is expressly not the same as "equal pay for equal work".

          GPG is due to disparities in the relative ratios of males / females across the earning demographics of an org - typically proportionally more men in more senior (better earning positions).

          Conflated to no end, for obvious reasons.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "Hmmm, let's talk about primary school teachers, 4:1 female to male ratio. Is this because of differences in distribution of traits?"

      It probably is, but the "traits" in question are not those of the teachers, but of the rest of society.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which primary school teachers? Where? Between what ages?

      As with the original "manifesto" generalisations usually lack data and context.

      Sticking with your general 4:1 number (no source cited). Schools and education is a job sector where, in general, it is easier to apply for and be allowed flexible working for child care. (Again, in general, provided by women).

      It's not possible to flick a switch and change many years of that being the status quo to see if you offered it in all sectors whether that would affect ratios, but some more modern thinking employers are implementing creches etc. at work to give their talented employees an option of staying, or even choosing their business as a career without having to consider or factor that in.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Sticking with your general 4:1 number (no source cited). Schools and education is a job sector where, in general, it is easier to apply for and be allowed flexible working for child care. (Again, in general, provided by women).

        I've not cited a source because this is an informal discussion on a web forum, not an academic exercise. You can do your own research. Data.Worldbank claims 87% female in the UK, a tiny bit higher in USA. Anecdotally, our kids go to a primary school with 100% female staff. Do you want to dispute that there are many more female primary school teachers, or stick to the point?

        Flexible working for child care does not explain anything, or the pattern would be the same in secondary schools. Do you want me to go and look up the ratio of female to male teachers in secondary schools for you? Or can you manage that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The huge bias toward primary school teachers being women is because of Andrea Leadsom and her ilk insisting men who work with children are probably paedos.

          Which, yes, is extremely sexist.

          1. Mad Mike

            @Anonymous Coward

            "The huge bias toward primary school teachers being women is because of Andrea Leadsom and her ilk insisting men who work with children are probably paedos."

            Whilst the above has undoubtedly made the situation worse, the inbalance existed long before Andrea Leadsom. There is definitely a bias towards paedos being men, but interestingly, we're seeing quite a lot of women being prosecuted for offences against minors as well now. Interesting that the penalty is generally less than for a man though. Whether we like it or not, there is still quite a lot of the schoolboy has sex with female teacher.....whay hey. Schoolgirl has sex with male teacher.....dirty filthy pervert, lock him away.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      4:1 Ratio

      No, its down to how men are viewed in modern society. Male teachers or childcare professionals are treated with suspicion from the word go, both by parents and the educational establishment. Therefore, head teachers (90% female) are far less likely to hire male teachers to avoid having to answer difficult questions or 'run the risk'.

      By way of correlation, I take my daughter to her junior swimming lessons on a regular basis. There's a lot of kids in attendance and parents often sit by the side of the pool. On the wall, prominently, is a sign that says "no cameras. no mobile phones." Most of the other parents that attend are mothers, rather than fathers, and many mobile phones and cameras are in clear and obvious usage. My phone bleeped with a message. I took it from my pocket to read said message then put it away again. Within moments, the pool management had turned up, in force, and asked to see my phone (I refused) and then asked me to leave the pool as they had had "several complaints" from the other parents.

      My language was both choice and colourful.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This could all be resolved if they just put more kitchens in the workplace. They could have "Bring your washing to work" days. Just think of the savings as they would no longer have to employ cleaners and the canteen would run itself.

    Women in the workplace certainly gets my vote.

    And before anyone gets up on their high horse this is purely sarcasm to illustrate how f*cking stupid it is that we are having the same discussions over and over again. The pay difference can easily be fixed by demanding the same pay and not selling yourself short, you know what you do and you know how much it should pay, it's called the internet and job vacancies. At the end of the day people should be employed on ability and that is all. If women are not predisposed to working in tech then we need to fix the education system. As a father of two girls I've seen how they go from "I can do anything" to "that's a boy thing" as soon as they enter the education system and I'll be damned if they are going to go through life with that attitude.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        I remember reading that girls speak up more in math class if there's no boys in the room. It was attributed to social pressure.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        It would be interesting to see data on what careers all-girls school pupils end up in. Obviously corrected for quality of education.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Obviously corrected for quality of education."

          The English TV presenter Joan Bakewell went to an academically selective girls-only secondary school in the 1940/50s. She won a place at Cambridge University, only the second person from her school to do so.

          In later years she said the following:

          'I remember at school our headmistress saying that it did not matter in the end the scholarships we won, the careers we forged, what mattered was that we should all end up wonderful wives and mothers. We'll see about that, so I muttered to myself at the time, but then I did exactly that, marrying young, like everyone else of my generation.'

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          "data on what careers all-girls school pupils end up in"

          I think such data exists (at least for the UK, where there still are a number of single-sex schools) and the results suggest that girls are more likely to pursue STEM subjects at school (and, I imagine, careers later) if there aren't any boys in the class.

          I suspect that boys in the class are far more influential than the teachers or other adult role models, simply because of the amount of exposure time to those influences. I am fairly confident that the effects are fairly small in the first few years of schooling but start having an effect pre-teen, when kids start thinking about each other's feelings a bit more, and since this seems to happen for girls a bit earlier than for boys, we probably have a situation where boys are having a negative influence and aren't capable of being aware of it. (You'd certainly be wasting your time explaining it to them, even if you thought they would listen to you.)

          Later on, of course, the hormones kick in and both boys and girls pretty much lose their heads in an attempt to conform to each other's prejudices. (This appears to be a near-universal phenomenon. Even quite "sensible" and "nice" boys and girls will confess to all sorts of internal struggles and external mis-behaviour if you can persuade them to open up in later life.) You probably could sit everyone down at this point and try to explain to them what is happening to their heads, but Nature has a several-hundred-million year head start in brewing those hormones, so you are on a hiding to nothing. It appears to take several years before rational thought regains control. By then, everyone in in their twenties and career paths are largely settled.

          I find this a rather gloomy theory because (i) it appears to rule out any effective intervention, and (ii) many people in later life *do* wish that they'd chosen differently in their teenage years.

          1. Denarius

            @Ken: There is evidence

            Citation absent in memory, Probably from New Scientist or BBC so apply preferred salt levels. Article suggested that the brain cell "pruning" that takes place during adolescence does reduce decision making competence as you hypothesize. Consequences assessment goes from bad to crap for 5 years or more. I do note from personal experience that tribal societies _increase_ rules and restrictions on their children approaching and during adolescence which anecdotally supports this theory.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: @Ken: There is evidence

              Ooh. Thanks for that. I honestly didn't think to look, but now that I google for "adolescence impaired judgement" I find that the academic community has explored this a fair bit over the years. For example, the pruning seems to be what's mentioned in http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr07/teenage.aspx. I'm not sure they use the phrase "bad to crap" but that's pretty much how I'd describe the process. (I don't consider myself to have been particularly wayward but I know, because I still feel guilty about some of it, that I did stuff that I simply could not do now.)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Symon

        I'm unsure to be honest as to what the actual reason is. It's a mixed school and it happened between reception and year one. Whether tv also had it's part to play I don't know. It could be that as they grew up they became more aware of the stereotypes put forward by society in general, there is also other peoples children and what they are taught by their own parents influencing what your own children think. As a point, in reception one daughter wanted to be a "fire officer" however she now classes it as a job for boys, they both get told at every opportunity that they can do whatever they want and that no job is for boys or for girls.

        I do think that the teachers should strive to do more in removing these ideas and attitudes. Whether they currently do or don't I honestly don't know, I can only go from what I observe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I'm unsure to be honest as to what the actual reason is"

          IIRC the order of influences is peers, home, society.

          I remember a young woman in the 1980s complaining that no matter how good she was at rebuilding a car engine - her mechanic father always dismissed her as "just a girl". Her sister was the beautiful "princess" type - although she actually caused her parents more grief later on.

          When the father divorced and remarried he was overjoyed to acquire two young stepsons. Neither had any interest in rebuilding cars. When one of them unexpectedly came out as gay in his 30s in the late 1990s - he was banned from bringing his partner to stay at the parental home.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I wonder if anyone has studied what happens in single gender schools."

        Depends on the ethos of the school.

        In England in the 1950s all our local secondary schools were single sex. Some encouraged girls to reach their potential - most merely applied the "mother and housewife" mould of society at that time. That was the time when many jobs still required a woman to resign when she became married.

        The boys received similar conditioning depending on their school.

        Nowadays - it's hard to tell as education establishments are now mixed male/female throughout

        In my street the youngest boys and girls play house and football - but they all dash about on bikes and scooters. Some of the boys won't play with the pink basketball because "that's a girls' colour" - but some boys wear their hair down to their shoulders.

        The "tweens" boys only kick footballs - and the girls dress as princesses. The next few years will show how much the old stereotypes are still present.

      5. CloudWrangler
        Facepalm

        IT isn't cool enough for girls

        Purely empirical evidence tells me that it's contact with other girls at school. Gender culture is insidious. I was doing my part at a high school job fair promoting IT career paths a short while back. The only girls who stopped to chat were classmates of my son who I already knew, and they just wanted to say hi. The only takers for even discussing what the possibilities for study and jobs were, were a few guys who were already interested in computing. IT is not even cool amongst guys, let alone girls.

      6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        I mean, do you think it's the teachers brainwashing them,

        That's why we need more women teachers

  8. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    We all know "diversity" is bollocks

    “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” Actually they lead to the censorship of those with alternative but equally valid viewpoints. You just have to observe 3rd Wave feminists and BLM in action to know that this is true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We all know "diversity" is bollocks

      What you are identifying is that there is a lack of diversity in a lot of organizations that claim to champion diversity. This isn't news, anybody who ever googled "white feminism" knows the SJWs are often the least tolerant people out there.

      Doesn't mean the issue doesn't need addressing, just because there are extremists in all ideologies.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Thought Police strike again

    Don't have an opinion. Unless it agrees with the rules. Comply citizen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Thought Police strike again

      The old way was: Don't have an opinion unless it maintains the status quo. Comply citizen.

      I know which i prefer.

  10. magickmark

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

    Lets remember this:

    ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ - Evelyn Beatrice Hall (Summarising and ideal expressed by Voltaire, pedants see here http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/06/01/defend-say/).

    We may or may not agree with the document that was 'leaked' but to understand an issue you need look at it from all sides (critical thinking) so you can make an informed choice.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

      I don't think it is anachronistic to also point out that this ideal was given an enforceable expression in the US Constitution.

      (I once told a yank that this document and the Declaration of Independence "would make a really good basis for running a country". His reply was something like "So you don't think we've managed that?" to which I replied "Well, you've made a good start but it needs ongoing maintenance.".)

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

      I don't think anyone's seriously suggesting people should be /banned/ from expressing such reprehensible attitudes as the Google memo's author; the issue is whether they're entitled to do it at work, from a corporate email address, to their coworkers. Modulo legal constraints on hate speech, that depends on the attitude of the employer. What do you think would happen if you arrived for work wearing a "vote Labour" or "vote Tory" T-shirt or went round the office handing out campaign literature?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

        Actually a lot of Googlers are calling for the author to be fired. The political climate there is extremely one-sided.

        And go read the memo yourself before you call it "reprehensible". http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

        What I find reprehensible is the extreme leftist groupthink in Silicon Valley.

        1. Day

          WHAT are you talking about?

          I defy anyone to read that memo and conclude that it makes any sense at all. Here are some examples of rubbish that he mentions without citing any evidence whatsoever:

          1. "Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education"

          2. "The male gender role is currently inflexible Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles."

          3. "I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts."

          4. "Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts."

          All of these are direct quotes from the document as reproduced here: Gizmodo article. I have chosen these quotes pretty much at random by scrolling up and down the document. I could have chosen many, many more examples. It is incredible how poorly argued the manifesto is. The fact that the author was apparently not embarrassed by it is pretty shocking, in my opinion.

          1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: WHAT are you talking about?

            "

            I defy anyone to read that memo and conclude that it makes any sense at all. Here are some examples of rubbish that he mentions without citing any evidence whatsoever:

            "

            The quotes you cited made perfect sense to me, and I am at a loss to know why you think they are in any way invalid.

            Are you saying, for example (your cite number 4), that we *should* strive to increase the number of homeless women, and that it is a crying shame that there are not far more female murderers?

            1. Day

              Re: WHAT are you talking about?

              I am not going go waste a lot of time on you, as I presume your question is disingenuous. But, on the off chance that you are serious, my objection to point for is the fact that in the author's mind, the two things (increasing women's representation in tech and increasing the number of women who are homeless) are comparable. I don't believe that you believe that. I think that you posted without reading what I said or reading the manifesto.

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            Re: Day Re: WHAT are you talking about?

            "....1. "Competitiveness and self reliance can be valuable traits and we shouldn’t necessarily disadvantage those that have them, like what’s been done in education"...." I suspect he is complaining about the "participation medal" mentality in US education, which does not prepare those that fail for the consequences or lack of desired results for not performing as well as others. IMHO, encouraging kids by saying "Hey, you didn't win this time, but you made a good effort, lets see why you didn't make the grade so we can improve your performance next time" is good, but simply saying "Hey, you failed, but have a prize anyway" is not going to help kids realise the real World is not egalitarian, it is very much results-based (even with affirmative action).

            I also suspect the writer's first language is not English, which would be extra amusing as it would mean one case of affirmative action moaning about another!

          3. MondoMan

            Re: WHAT are you talking about? -- yep, you're right

            From the actual manifesto

            "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.

            "

            Now, I've always seen programming, like math (not calculation, but actual math), as primarily a creative aesthetic endeavor. There's beauty in data structures and program architectures. According to the Googler's claims above, women should be flocking to programming as an artistic field!

            I think the Googler has made a good start in its document, but has not fully thought out, not precisely defined, and not properly researched its descriptions of human traits and tendencies. This document clearly needs a much longer incubation to be anything of substance. For not recognizing the immaturity of its document, perhaps it's better that the Googler move on to a different company.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Programming as creativity

              You make a good point, MondoMan, but I think that the ability to see maths as a creative thing very much depends on how one's mind works, and not everyone sees the world that way.

              I got into programming because it triggered the language based part of my brain (I love learning foreign languages), rather than the maths part (in which I will be the first to admit I am not so strong, although how much of that may have been influenced by undiagnosed depression in childhood and when at university, I don't know; with hindsight it is incredible that my brain managed to take in anything properly), which meant that I struggled later with some of the more mathematical-type parts is some programming languages (although that might just have been bad experiences with Perl syntax and low-level stuff such as C memory pointers…!).

  11. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The responses speak volumes

    I've been reading the reactions to this on various sites and a number of things seem to stand out:

    1/ The responses are almost entirely from men;

    2/ They tend to be short on relevant evidence and long on emotion and anecdote, a trait that is nevertheless characterised as female, often in the same post;

    3/ For a bunch of Silicon Valley people supposedly intent on disrupting almost everything there seems to be an almost unanimous acceptance that when it comes to gender imbalance there is no way the status quo can be challenged.

    It rather reminds me of when my mother (ironically) used to tell me as a child that Apartheid was inevitable because "the" black people had a different way of life.

    1. Denarius

      Re: The responses speak volumes

      Uh Warm, the article is about mandating change to what may be an arbitrary "balance" by brute bureaucracy and censorship. What has your comment got to do with article or comments then ? I also suggest even comments are from mostly white males then this supports male preferences toward things like computers.

      Aside from that, the only females I knew working in system admining were hostile to special treatment. Incidently, same attitude was expressed in some of Oz gummints departments specialising in assisting racial minorities. The staff wanted to be selected on competence alone. BTW, perhaps anecdotal evidence is more popular than usual is because no-one trusts experts any more.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: The responses speak volumes

        The you go braw, just in case people didn't believe your summary someone's posted a perfect example as a reply!

    2. Terrance Brennan

      Re: The responses speak volumes

      The status quo can certainly be challenged, it can and should always be challenged or society will stagnate. The problem some of us have is with the mindless, brute-force method sometimes used. I firmly believe all candidates should be treated equally regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation. And, two people doing the same work should be paid the same regardless of etc. The problem is when you are talking about positions that require certain specific skills the hiring process is not the right place to try to enforce quotas; it is far too late. If not enough whatevers are not getting the necessary education/training you will not have enough whatevers applying for the skilled jobs. I took science and engineering in University and white men always outnumbered everyone else in the programs. It has been the same in every continuing education class I have taken since. I also believe that any "group" of people can be successful in any field of endeavor if given the opportunity. Note I did not say any individual within any group; there are differences in individual abilities; but, I don't believe any one group has a exclusive to skills in anything.

      Enforcing diversity in the work place without providing equal access to the prerequisite education/training is not going to help anyone. Diversity in and of itself accomplishes nothing; the best qualified people should be the ones hired. Allowing everyone a chance to become qualified is far more important.

      The second best engineer I ever knew (No, I don't consider myself the first best, that goes to someone I did not hire) was a female. I hired her not to make up numbers; but, because she was easily the most qualified candidate we had. I am not naïve enough to believe everyone would make the same choice; but, most companies like the idea of prospering and would be more inclined to hire a more diverse work force if the pool of qualified candidates was more diverse.

  12. Day

    Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

    In truth, I'm not sure about his title - someone else mentioned it. In any case, this is actually a considered response, in my opinion: "So, about this Googler’s manifesto"

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

      That "response" is only "considered" in the "you're of course an idiot, let me tell you why (first off, you're not senior and I am)" sense. No thanks. That bloke is welcome to take his personal opinion disguised as wisdom and pontificate it somewhere else.

      1. Day

        Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

        Well there is some relevance, because he used to work at Google. And the points he makes are interesting, even if chose not to engage with them.

        1. conel

          Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

          That was a very weak response, here's another response explaining why:

          http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/450214/google-memo-about-allegedly-devastating-response

          1. Day

            Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

            That REALLY is not an explanation why it is a "weak response". The author of the piece you quoted states that he doesn't want to talk about what makes a good SW engineer and then goes on to contradict Zunger's definition of what makes a good SW engineer.

            Have you read the original manifesto? Even if you agree with what the person is saying, the manifesto is really a terrible way of expressing that. There is really no way you can defend it, because it is a truly appalling piece of writing.

    2. jrd

      Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

      > In truth, I'm not sure about his title - someone else mentioned it. In any case, this is actually a considered response, in my opinion: "So, about this Googler’s manifesto"

      Well, if by "considered response" you mean "I would have him fired immediately and escorted from the building"... I think this response well illustrates the sort of problem the original manifesto was attempting to spotlight.

      1. Day

        Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

        It is a considered response. He explains in great detail his thinking about the memo. And remember, he is an ex-Google employee, so his thinking has some relevance here.

    3. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Article by a former "Google Distinguished Engineer"

      While I have sympathy for the memo writer, this significantly opposed response also has valid points.

      However, it links to this article, which I think is very wrong. If tolerance were a peace treaty and not a moral precept, there would be nothing wrong with exploiting and discriminating against those who were so powerless they could not fight back.

      That kind of negates the whole point of tolerance.

  13. Pharris1

    Old Fashioned values

    What ever happened to employing the best person for the job? Don't understand why companies are pressured into having a diverse workforce when it could potentially lead to substandard employees

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old Fashioned values

      "What ever happened to employing the best person for the job?"

      That is very difficult to determine - especially if a cultural bias has already cultivated apparent under-achievement in a person.

      Sometimes the applied criterion for "the best person for the job" is that they fit a mould of conformity that the company already has established in its staff. Ideal for doing the company doing the same thing time after time - but it tends to a certain narrow mediocrity.

      A young friend fell at the first hurdle of a job application for a large IT company. It required a web form to be filled in with grades for examinations going back to his teens. His overall academic "score" was reduced by some under-achievement early on - although his university degree was good.

      There was however no tick box for his achievement in being selected for a privileged Microsoft award for his outstanding performance as an undergraduate.

      A renowned smaller IT company snapped him up - at a much higher salary than the big company was offering graduates.

      The larger company later realised their loss - but they didn't change their recruitment method. Another young friend fell at the second hurdle - when the telephone interview was marred by the outsourced interviewer's difficult to understand accent. Again he was delighted to then land a very well paid job with one of the top accountancy companies in London.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old Fashioned values

      "What ever happened to employing the best person for the job?"

      Because more often than not "best person for the job" really means "someone that looks and sounds like me" which isn't very good for hiring the person who is actually the best fit for the job.

      If you read through the 10 page rant that's exactly what this chap is arguing for. He's not just arguing against the promotion of equality and diversity, he is actively arguing that women and people from other cultures are biologically guaranteed to be worse at him at the job he does. Which is, frankly, prejudicial bullshit with no evidence behind it.

      If he's not fired there will be a large number of googlers heading for the exit. It's one thing to bash overbearing HR-driven diversity campaigns, quite another to belittle anyone with a vagina or brownish skin.

      1. Denarius

        Re: Old Fashioned values

        Be nice if you included the biggest group in the ruins of the West that have been scrapped. Older males specifically. The mostly female HR types really like to employ people like them, young and mostly shallow IMHO.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Old Fashioned values

      "What ever happened to employing the best person for the job?"

      Define "best" and then we can talk.

      Yes, I know, for a technical position our notion of best really ought to be dominated by the ability to perform the principal tasks. However, if your company has more than one employee then being able to work in a team to create something greater than the sum of its parts is also important. We've all known (and read on this site about) co-workers whose social skills or personal habits outweighed their technical abilities and so they just weren't the best person for the job. (For example, being the personification of social poison appears to be a requirement for "The Apprentice" and I'm frankly astonished that Milord Sugar doesn't just fire the whole bloody lot of them at the end of the first show.) For most candidates, with average social skills, this isn't an issue, but it provides wiggle-room for Prejudice to sneak in and decide that so-and-so "is great but lacks synergy".

      1. Oh_bollocks

        Re: Old Fashioned values

        I haven't read the manifesto but anyone that bothers to write a manifesto is probably crazy.

        I think it safe to assume it suggests diverse backgrounds and opinions are more important than race (all of these things skew from social construct).

        I don't know if firing is the right action to take when you disagree with opinions you find distasteful, although it's probably fine to say to the employee that their words are not in alignment with the culture.

  14. inmypjs Silver badge

    Bigger problem

    You have to be some kind of arsehole to work for a disgustingly shitty slimy scumbag company like google.

    Not much diversity in a company entirely staffed by arseholes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bigger problem

      "Not much diversity in a company entirely staffed by arseholes."

      Among Google employees (and former employees) that spring to mind are Rob Pike, Ken Thompson (developers of Go) and Guido van Rossum (Python). There are plenty of others who do good work. Perhaps you need to calm down.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: Bigger problem

        "Among Google employees (and former employees) that spring to mind"

        If you work for a company with zero respect for the personal privacy of basically the whole world you are an arsehole.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bigger problem

          "If you work for a company with zero respect for the personal privacy of basically the whole world you are an arsehole."

          "Zero" respect sounds unlikely. Yes, their business model relies on snooping people's online habits, so as a company they have less respect for privacy than many of us would like. Nobody is forcing you to use their services however. I'm guessing you don't use any Android devices.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bigger problem

            Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to avoid being spied on by Google via Google Analytics, Google API hosting, Google Fonts, GMail users, and, as you pointed out, those who have been assimilated by the Android Borg collective, even if you actively try to avoid Google spyware yourself…

        2. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: Bigger problem

          And now I read on the BBC the author has being fired - guess he just wasn't a big enough arsehole to fit in.

  15. MJI Silver badge

    Just employ most suitable candidates

    And stop following quotas.

    If 6 legged martians are most suitable so be it.

    Gender, age and race should have no bearing on the jib, but skills should.

    Also why should an able candidate be disqualified due to their gender or skin colour?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just employ most suitable candidates

      more likely that they're disqualified due to ageism. I've heard "they seem a bit old", "they've been doing this a long time, why haven't they moved up" far more than I've heard "don't want a xyz" infact I've never heard people not wanting someone based on gender/ethnicity much the other way around, most people I've seen will bend over backwards to hire a female candidate.

      Ironically the last time they tried name and gender blind cv's the number of women interviewed plummeted... Why? Because then they're not the one of only 3 CV's that are female versus the 47 that are male.

      1. Vic

        Re: Just employ most suitable candidates

        more likely that they're disqualified due to ageism

        I had an agent ring me up about a candidate once - he was trying to make sure that the bloke's age wouldn't be a problem. He had quite a few years on me...

        Of course, it wasn't a problem to me. The problem was that, at interview, the bloke was simply crap, and would resort to anecdotes about how computing used to be whenever I asked him a difficult question. I let him do that for a full hour before pointing out that I'd been doing the job rather longer than he had...

        Vic.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People enraged by person having different opinions. Demand person suffers for having wrong thoughts.

    These people make me sick. Go have a debate, state some facts, embark in a discussion. Nah whine about it, post it on the interenet and try get someone fired. Cowards.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Various posts suggest the document’s author may find his credentials don't let him into the building on Monday morning. Others say that if the author can make his way to his desk, plenty of other Googlers will head the other way in protest.

    I truly hope this doesn't happen. If it does, it kind of underscores his point.

  18. Mad Mike

    Reality

    The issue here is one of fighting nature. Now, before I start, I believe that any job should be filled by the best qualified candidate, whether male, female, black, white etc.etc. There should be no selection occurring due to bias rather than ability.

    However, the idea that men and women have the same desires and therefore aptitudes towards different jobs (and the skills required) is clearly biological nonsense. Men and women are driven by two different hormones. These have physical effects on the body, but they also have psychological effects as well. In some cases, societal bias simply emphasises this, in some cases, it is entirely artificial. However, if you look at numerous university studies, even amongst the very young, the outlook of boys and girls is very different. This is amazingly apparent in schools. Boys have a tendency to fight and normally punch each other a few times and next day are best mates again. Girls tend to be far more psychological in their fighting, with cliques etc. that go on for years. The old, "I can't be your friend because you're friends with her" lark. This is by no means universal, but definitely splits between the sexes.

    Even more apparent are physical differences, which can make a difference in certain jobs. If the job is physical, you're more likely to pick a man (statistically) because on average, men are stronger. That's not to say a stong women should be denied the job, just that the split won't be even and is never likely to be. A good example of this is jobs where different physical requirements have been set for men and women. Why? Here's the physical standard. You pass, you're in, you fail, you're out. But no, we have to have more women, so the standard is lowered for women. Why not lower the standard for wimpy men as well? Why only women?

    So, it's completely unreasonable to expect the number of women and men in jobs to split roughly equal (as with the population). Some jobs, that might be the case, but most will have a split one way or the other. Artificially fighting this is trying to fight nature. Men and women are different and due to that, will have different traits and strengths on average. Rather than see the differences as a bad thing, we need to embrace them and positively use them to advantage. Trying to make everyone the same is fighting against nature.

    In all the above, I'm talking about averages and statistics. The best person for the job should be employed at all times, with the emphasis on qualifications. However, we shouldn't expect it to split evenly.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Reality

      "This is amazingly apparent in schools. Boys have a tendency to fight and normally punch each other a few times and next day are best mates again. Girls tend to be far more psychological in their fighting, with cliques etc. that go on for years."

      That's true enough for kids, but my impression is that actually both sexes spend the next decade becoming more like each other again. At least part of the problem, then, is that important (ie, door-closing) life choices are being made at an age when the children are at the "most divergent" (or most stereotypical, if you prefer) part of their development. Not sure what the answer is...

  19. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Antisocial media

    any social media outlet of which you're a member

    How about El Reg? I sincerely hope that, as the antithesis of social media they won't be Doing a CNN[1] on it..

    [1] From the Marillion song "Man of a thousand faces"[2]:

    "Look at my life and it looks like CNN

    You see something once

    You know it's gonna come around again"

    [2] Also provided my Usenet tagline for quite a while: "I speak to machines with the voice of humanity"

  20. John Savard Silver badge

    Unwise

    It was unwise for him to identify himself as a Google employee, and, indeed, to identify himself, on his comments.

    Political correctness is a real problem. But since inequality is also a real problem, a certain amount of "reverse discrimination" is a legitimate response to that problem. It isn't as if we have all that many less blunt instruments available.

    At one point, in response to a story about black engineers being underrepresented at Intel, I noted that it isn't surprising that black people don't have the right educational qualifications in the same proportion as whites: and that it's harder for a firm in the consumer sector to achieve balance when the qualified black candidates are being snapped up by defense contractors, who absolutely have to achieve racial balance to sell to the government.

    Women face certain disadvantages too: not all women, but the stereotypes wouldn't get started if they didn't correspond to the situations of a large number of women. So the fact that there are exceptional women who are fully qualified for STEM jobs won't mean there will be enough of them for every company to achieve full equal representation for them.

  21. Karlis 1

    Talking about role models

    I appreciate the mantra that balanced and inclusive workplace voicing all different opinions somehow is better, but I struggle to find woman role models in leadership positions that have not ended up a complete heartless psychotic disasters. Mayer, May, Thatcher?

    Can somebody name the "good" role models at the top of the game?

    1. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Talking about role models

      The Queen of Sheba sought out Solomon for his wisdom. But we're told now that the Bible is just a compilation of fairy tales suited for weak minded children. 'Real' women today are born knowing it all because their 'gender' is superior.

    2. Denarius

      Re: Talking about role models

      Good female role model. Hmm,

      Spelling probably wrong, but two spring to mind. Last Dowager Empress of China, Cixxii and Liz Mk1. Liz Mk1 was very economic rationalist so maybe not such a good example. The female pharoh maybe but insufficient information on her performance as a manager available. Any Egyptologists among us ?

      As for current businesses, Yeah, um, um. However I have noted over the decades that many husbands and wives have very successful businesses as a team where wife is effective manager, husband more the blue collar skilled worker. Is much of this discussion a reflection on the a reflection on the obscene individualism rampant in western cultures, especially MerkinLand ?

    3. MondoMan

      Re: Talking about role models

      Merkel seems OK. And there's always Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga :)

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Talking about role models

      There is a serious shortage of role models, good or otherwise, and the already short list is then skewed towards those who are capable of rising to the top at the expense of male opponents. So even if there were none (which depends on your politics) I wouldn't say that the absence proves anything.

  22. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    "A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone."

    I would agree with that except for the misinterpretation of diverse. For some reason there seems to be an assumption of improvements based on genitalia or skin colour. What about a fair representation of hair or eye colour. And dont forget height while we stick to the genetics theme.

    We can also continue with diversity away from genetics and into perception and belief such as transgenderism and religion. I can imagine the requirement now for a percentage of catholic attack helicopters in the workplace. Of course none of this has anything to do with the job but it will lead to "better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone."

    Ha

  23. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Diversity

    Looking around my west-coast startup.

    We are 10% each Brit, Isreali, Russian, Indian. 30% Asian immigrant, 30% Asian 1st generation native. We have a single WASP native. Pretty much the mix of the local tech community.

    Yeah for us, diversity awards all round. Except we don't have any African-Americans, or hispanics - we should be 25% black/hispanic. We have exactly equal numbers of Jews and Muslims but there are 100x as many Muslims in the world as Jews - so we are obviously racist.

    We are almost 50:50 male female. But the average salary for the men is >50% higher than the women. That's because the founders, CEO, CTO, CFO and engineers are men. The sales marketing and QA and office staff are all women - so we are obviously sexist.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Diversity

      The biggest institutional challenge for all this diversity?

      I have to order the friday afternoon pizza. For the vegan, veggie, halal, not-necessarily kosher or halal but no pork, no pineapple - factions. It's worse than negotiating a middle eastern peace conference.

  24. Day

    Frankly, the manifesto-writer should be censured (note that is a 'u', not a 'o') for writing absolute nonsense. It reads like something a pre-undergraduate student would try to argue. For one thing, this is absolutely preposterous:

    <blockquote>

    We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).

    </blockquote>

    This person has clearly never actually given any thought to this subject matter.

  25. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    An Engineer's Logic

    ......expressing the reality of the consequences of years of political correctness upon THE organization. It's almost mathematical in expression isn't it? A=A. Google's 'new' math says that's incorrect. We've suffered unbalanced equations for generations now and I have every confidence that reality will find nature's equilibrium.

  26. oneeye

    Commentards never cease to Amaze Me!

    And here I expected the Howler Monkeys to reinforce the band of Flying Monkeys today.

    I'm stunned that the SJW ideologue's have pulled a fantastic reversal of themselves and all without injury. I mean, how can people twist themselves into pretzel shapes, and not be damaged. Well, it must be that not many, ACTUALLY read the ten page memo. After all, that take's concentrating, comprehension and other feats of mental prowess, for which many severely lack. Normally, if I were in a good mood, I'd give the benefit of the doubt to them, but, I've witnessed their cruelty too many times before. So, perhaps, those in the know,.....know just how puzzled I am at today's comments. Hmmmm?

  27. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Equality ...

    Oscar Wilde said, "It is no more just to treat unequals equally than it is to treat equals unequally."

    The fact is that people do generally not *want* to be treated equally, because we are diverse and have different likes and dislikes - some due to culture & upbringing, some innate. For many, attending a premier football match would be a reward. For me, it would be a punishment. The same is true of a night at the opera.

    And some of those innate preferences are in fact linked to gender. The set of likes, dislikes and aptitudes are statistically different between men and women, and like Wilde said, it would be unfair to treat people who *are* different as if they were *not* different.

    The fact that there are fewer women who study or apply for jobs in the tech industry may simply be due to an innate bias that predisposes a greater percentage of those with a Y chromosome and/or high testosterone toward technical matters than those without a Y chromosome and/or high testosterone. Pressuring people into taking a subject or job that they do not particularly like would be just as wrong as denying some people who do have such a liking and aptitude the opportunity to pursue it.

  28. Petrea Mitchell
    Facepalm

    A simple scientific question

    If I could ask the manifesto author one question, it would be, "How does your biological hypothesis account for the era when programming was a majority-female occupation?"

    1. oneeye

      Re: A simple scientific question

      Was that back when the industry (and I use it loosely here) needed people to change the tape reels, and fetch coffee?

    2. Denarius

      Re: A simple scientific question

      Petrea, probably because, as you expect, it was seen as low status, boring and not as important as wearing a suit. Mind you, being able to code well in hex/machine code was always impressive to me. One could also point out much of the wiring done in the Apollo space craft was done by women because they handled the monotony better than males and were more meticulous as a result. ( quoting something I read in Scientific Merkin decades ago) We should all remember Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. The essential question still remains, why was she one of the few exceptions ?

  29. ZombieHorde

    Equality of Opportunity, not outcome.

    It's sure seems like everyone forgets that all of our EEOC rules and laws are about equality of opportunity. I agree with that, but the expectation of equality of outcome, i.e. the supposed pay disparity between workers cannot be guaranteed, unless you want to live in a Marxist economy where everyone is equally poor and oppressed.

  30. Bucky 2

    False incentive

    Schools and education is a job sector where, in general, it is easier to apply for and be allowed flexible working for child care.

    I see how this benefits families with children.

    In order for this to be a positive thing that specifically benefits women, we would have had to secretly decide that, in an either/or choice between career and raising children, raising children should always fall to women, and building a career should always fall to men.

    Under the circumstances, I have to call the policy irrelevant to bringing equality to the workplace.

  31. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "Google’s suggestions for “American scientists” are famously Woke, with blacks dominating the list."

    “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

    If you wanna go to Sudan to wallow in diversity cargo-cultism, you know how to do that.

    Meanwhile: Google's Rotten Core of "American Computer Scientists"

    The two idiots from the Goog are pretty much up front, wonder why.

  32. martinusher Silver badge

    I'm just glad I'm retired

    I found the memo -- which I read -- quite reasonable so I must be some old fart that's out of touch with reality. Fortunately I can just let these squabbles pass me by sure in the knowledge that Natural Selection will eventually fix things.

    For the record, I've worked in 'technology' all my life; its always been diverse racially but not as diverse in gender as it should be. This hasn't been for lack of trying -- my (retired) wife worked in education for her entire working life and as a Physicist she spent a lot of extra time devising ways to encourage girls to take up what are known as STEM subjects these days. Its as bad now as its ever been with maybe the exception that there's now a lot of spinoff jobs in technology that aren't really technical but still attract great salaries and I'd guess the squabbles are really about those plums.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jeez

    I was born a white male (I apologise profusely) in a poor family in a poor area. Due to my inherent white privilege I worked hard at school while most of my classmates couldn't be arsed, and started programming computers around the age of 6. I'm sure this is not far off the experience of many Reg readers.

    During childhood I literally wasn't even aware that racism was a thing. I grew up around 1st and 2nd generation immigrants of various nationalities and as kids we never even thought about it. It was well meaning but clueless adults who started to drive wedges between different groups by banging on about how we shouldn't be racist. Kind of like how kids wouldn't even think about sniffing glue until someone told them not to do it.

    I started to get really pissed off by all this stuff when you could get bullied for the wrong hair colour or glasses or whatever else but anything remotely racial was somehow special and incurred the immediate wrath of higher-ups. Through a 10 year old's eyes that's just unfair and discriminatory.

    I really wanted to get into a scientific career involving computers but realistically couldn't afford to stay in school that long so dropped out at 16 and worked various jobs like joiner's apprentice, BT contractor and all the other good stuff. At the time I couldn't have got a job at a "real" computing job due to lack of a degree, despite being able to code backwards in C with my eyes shut. In the end I scraped together enough money to start a business, left the country and spent over a decade making it work.

    What grinds my gears is that I'm told more and more frequently that my current day success is all a product of white male privilege. Honestly, I can't deny that if I was e.g. a black woman it would be even harder to take the STEM route due to societal pressures and natural human bias. But most of the people telling me this stuff are not downtrodden immigrants but 3rd+ generation Asian Americans whose wealthy parents paid for their whole ride through college and masters degrees. I hope I don't come across as bitter, I'm really not. I probably wouldn't be anywhere near as successful in the end without the pressure.

    For 20 years I have been a naturalized immigrant in a country with no laws against racial discrimination and usually the comments above come sneeringly after I mention in conversation some personal experiences of racism. At first it's physically impossible for anyone to be racist against a white person, then it's apparently fair and just because someone shouted ching chong at them in high school.

    TL;dr: racism/sexism sucks. And if you believe in hiring people or giving opportunity with a bias against one particular ethnicity or sex then you are a racist/sexist.

  34. Ellis Birt 1

    Not just Google!

    I am sure I am not the only attendee at Microsoft build that noticed that women presenting accounted for far more than the 20% proportion they occupy in the industry workforce.

    One session was painful after the obviously experienced presenter handed over to his female sub-ordinate who then struggled through the bulk of the session, periodically looking back for some help and re-assurance that he looked like he wanted to give but could not.

    Call it "affirmative action" if you want, but it is just another form of discrimination in disguise and all discrimination is negative

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