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It's 'completely safe' for women to speak out at Google, executive says

Diane Greene, Google
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Diane Greene, Google

Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google Cloud, spoke out about the role of women in Silicon Valley at Google's cloud conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

"Now we're in an environment where women are increasingly having a huge impact and adding a lot of value to our industry," Greene said. "And women are celebrated if they raise their hand and say, 'Hey, you're missing my value. You're not recognizing what I'm doing.'"

Greene's comments came amid turmoil at fellow technology company Uber. The ride-hailing company is investigating claims that a former engineer faced gender bias and sexual harassment.

Uber also asked its senior vice president of engineering, Amit Singhal, to resign last month, after they discovered he was accused of sexual harassment during his work at Google.

"We strive at Google Cloud to have an environment where no one needs to raise their hand, but no matter what, it is completely safe to do that," Greene said.

Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
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Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

Uber and Google have a complicated history. Alphabet's venture capital arm invested in Uber, according to Crunchbase, and Alphabet executive David Drummond once sat on Uber's board.

But Drummond stepped down in August "given the overlap between the two companies." Now, A project of Google-parent Alphabet is fighting Uber in court over trade secrets.

Greene was honored at the event by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who called her a trailblazer for women in technology. Her speech was on International Women's Day, and Greene wore a red ribbon to commemorate the occasion.

"This industry — I think I've been incredibly fortunate — but it was sort of an industry where I was lucky and I kind of chose to be oblivious to what was going on," Greene said. She later added: "I really look forward to the day when this audience is maybe 50 percent women. It's more fun to have diversity."