Google’s Gender Row – Is The Entire Hullabaloo Justified?

Google’s Gender Row - Is The Entire Hullabaloo Justified? - A take of Sunil Jagani

Scene 1: Google employee James Damore writes an anti-diversity memo arguing on “personality differences between men and women, with women having a lower tolerance for stress.”

Scene 2: The memo gets posted on Google’s internal mailing list and is heavily circulated inside the company, and eventually within the Silicon Valley.

Scene 3: The action causes a storm in the industry, raising issues of gender discrimination, meets a response from everyone, including the who’s who of the IT industry, and is heavily criticized. Some also come in his support in Google’s gender row.

Scene 4: James Damore is fired by Google for accusing the company of “Political Bias” against conservatives, calling the company ‘Unfair’, and perpetuating “Gender Stereotypes”.

Now the question – Is the whole commotion justified?

Mr. Damore expressed his concerns being in a company that is considered a benchmark for the rest of the companies in the world in terms of work culture, openness, and transparency. However, the response he received was quite contrary to how Google as a company has been perceived over the years.

Irrespective to the issues raised over Google’s gender row – which as a matter of fact were expressed while staying within the confined boundaries of freedom of expression – his dismissal from Google on grounds as such is condemning.

The matter brings forth questions like:

  1. Do companies try to silence conservative political opinions?
  2. Has gender anything to do with preferences and abilities?
  3. What is the actual definition of “freedom of expression”?

What Damore expressed is absolutely demoralizing, but that’s where Google should have drawn the line. I think Google tackled the issue in a very indecisive manner and judged Damore too soon.

Although I am the president and CTO of an IT company myself, I started as an employee. Hence, I can well understand the conflict going on at both the ends.

Irrespective to the brand popularity, Google’s way of responding reflects the tech company’s rotten core.

A matter that could have been solved with the aid of debates and discussions – and probably set an example for others to follow – ended in a way just like anyone might have expected from a regular IT company.

One part of building an open environment in a company means fostering a culture where people with different kind of opinions, political views, and ideas can still find a common ground so that they could safely collaborate with each other while for the greater good.

Still, I strongly disagree with Mr. Damore. The allegation that women can’t think logically when it comes to tech jobs is completely invalid.

But, maybe we are all debating on the wrong topics!

Instead of deciding whether Mr. Damore is a free speech martyr or sexist techie, we must work towards creating a platform that could allow employees and top-management to work out their concerns in a way that it doesn’t affect their mutual co-existence.

Scene 5: Julian Assange, Director and founder of Wikileaks, announced a job for Damore in his company through Twitter.

Scene 6: Now a former employee, Damore has announced that he has plans to take legal action against the company

 

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