Women are neurotic, diversity efforts are ‘bad for business’ and 10 other shocking quotes from the viral Google manifesto

Women read from the viral Google memo that argues men are better leaders
Women read from the viral Google memo that argues men are better leaders

If you haven't read the full, 10-page anti-diversity memo written by a male Google employee that has now gone viral, here's your CliffsNotes version.

In the piece, entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," a software engineer who works at the Mountain View, California, headquarters tries to make the case that women are underrepresented in tech because of biological differences. (The original memo reportedly uses sources from Wikipedia to The Estonian Centre for Behavioural and Health Sciences to WordPress blogs to The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal.)

The document has been met with a lot of public anger, but the author says he has received many secret notes of gratitude, too, from fellow Google employees afraid to express their similar perspectives.

Here are 12 of the most divisive quotes, though there are plenty more where these came from.

1. "Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don't have 50 percent representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business."

2. The author says Google leans toward liberal and that "political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases." He breaks down those "prejudices" as follows: "Left Biases: Compassion for the weak, Disparities are due to injustices, Humans are inherently cooperative, Change is good (unstable), Open, Idealist. Right Biases: Respect for the strong/authority, Disparities are natural and just, Humans are inherently competitive, Change is dangerous (stable), Closed, Pragmatic."

Kara Swisher: Victimization of white men in Silicon Valley is exhausting
Kara Swisher: Victimization of white men in Silicon Valley is exhausting

3. "On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because: They're universal across human cultures, they often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone, biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males."

4. "I'm simply stating that the 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."

5. "Women, on average, have more: Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs."

6. "We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism."

7. "Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things."

8. "Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average. Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech."

9. "I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices: 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."

10. "We're told by senior leadership that what we're doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google."

11. "My concrete suggestions are to: De-moralize diversity. As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the 'victims.'"

12. The author runs through several other suggestions on how to solve the current culture of, as he sees it, intolerance to conservative ways of thinking about gender dynamics at the Google: "Be open about the science of human nature. Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems."

You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment.
Yonatan Zunger
former Google executive

Google's vice president of diversity, Danielle Brown, responded to the memo saying the viewpoint expressed was not in line with that of the company. "We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul," she says.

A Google executive, Yonatan Zunger, who left the company for unrelated issues after 14 years, commented on the memo publicly too. He says that the idea that engineering is not a cooperative, people-driven field is false.

"All of these traits which the manifesto described as 'female' are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering," Zunger says in a Medium post. "All of which is why the conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards. It's true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people's emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones."

Zunger also says that the comments hurt Google. They damage the reputation of Google and also create an environment where women question their ability. "I am no longer even at the company and I've had to spend half of the past day talking to people and cleaning up the mess you've made. I can't even imagine how much time and emotional energy has been sunk into this, not to mention reputational harm more broadly," he says.

"You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment."

In his previous role at Google, had the author been in his reporting chain, Zunger says, he would have called a meeting with the author of the memo to inform him that his behavior was not acceptable. That meeting "would have ended with you being escorted from the building by security and told that your personal items will be mailed to you."

This story has been updated to include new information on the sourcing of the memo.

Adam Grant bashes viral google memo, saying the differences between men and women are slim to none
Adam Grant bashes viral google memo, saying the differences between men and women are slim to none