A Google employee has been fired after writing a memo that blamed biological differences as the cause of gender gap in tech industry.
Engineer James Damore wrote a 10-page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, criticising the company’s diversity initiatives.
“We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” Damore wrote. “Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
The memo, which was first reported by Motherboard, came during the US Department of Labour’s investigation of Google’s wage discrimination problems, whereby women are paid less than men in comparable roles.
CEO Sundar Pichai said Damore was fired on Monday, as parts of the memo “violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes”.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote in an email.
Google is not the only Silicon Valley company embroiled in gender discrimination problem. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned amid a series of scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination of women engineers in the company.