Leadership

What YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told her daughter about the Google anti-diversity memo

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki's daughter asked her about the controversial anti-diversity memo that surfaced within Google and has since been circulating around the web, the CEO writes in an essay for Fortune.

"Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?" the child wanted to know.

The mother of five replied, "No, it's not true."

Wojcicki is the latest leader to respond to former Google engineer James Damore's 10-page manifesto, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," which argues that men make for better leaders in the tech industry and also more effective employees.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.
Michael Newberg | CNBC
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.

Though she has led YouTube since February 2014, Wojcicki worked at Google for over 14 years before that. Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

The CEO writes that, as a woman in tech, she has grown accustomed to such criticism over the years.

"Though I've been lucky to work at a company where I've received a lot of support — from leaders like Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg to mentors like Bill Campbell — my experience in the tech industry has shown me just how pervasive that question is," she writes.

She calls the memo "tragic" for its "unfounded bias," and says that she detests how this sort of disparaging language is "being exposed to a new generation."

The memo comes at a time where the U.S. gender pay gap for full-time, year-round workers has proven stubbornly persistent at about 20 percent. Although millennial women are reportedly getting closer to earning what their male counterparts do, historically young women's earnings peak at about 90 percent of what their male peers earn and then go down as they age.

Many experts argue that the gap may not be entirely closed until 2152.

"When I saw the memo that circulated last week," writes Wojcicki, "I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others."

As the CEO wrote in an Op-Ed for Vanity Fair in March, she remains "frustrated that an industry so quick to embrace and change the future can't break free of its regrettable past."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook

Don't miss: The tough-love advice Malcolm Gladwell would give his 21-year-old self