The Google Diversity Memorandum

I am upset about the Google Diversity Memorandum.

A young white man misinterprets scientific studies and presents them as an excuse as to why there are not more women at Google.

I am a woman in technology.

I fought my way through engineering school, where women were routinely given the “typing” and “marketing” aspect of group projects. Where no young man would partner us in labs. Where we were a measly 5% of the graduating class.

I earned my place at that engineering school. It wasn’t given to me because of my sex. My degree wasn’t granted because I am female.

I was given my place at the school of engineering and earned my degree because of my hard work and efforts. Period.

Yes, there were whiny boys who complained that we were given preference when they didn’t pass exams and we did. But you know what? Studying does make a hell of a lot of difference.

I work now, as I have since graduation, programming computers, primarily database work these days. And it is still a fight sometimes. I’ve had clients question my male colleagues about my work while I was in the room…even when the colleagues didn’t know databases. I’ve had clients interview everyone on the team about problems with their databases, and not ask me…after I was brought in to help with their databases. I’ve had clients proposition me, try to hire me for less than half of what I making, and force me to do documentation because “that’s what women do.” I’ve dealt with bosses who would routinely send me out for lower skill jobs (Access) that I didn’t know how to do because the men were given the SQL and VB jobs, which were my proven skill areas.

Maybe the lack of women at Google, and in programming in general, has less to do with our supposed brain differences, and more to do with how we are treated.

I’ve become inured to stuff like this. I am only angry about the fact that my daughter seems to think that this man from Google is right. That women really don’t have the brains for math and science and programming.

I would have hoped that that societal brainwashing died with my generation. But it apparently hasn’t, and it makes me so angry.

We are losing a lot of talent because girls are being told that they can’t do this stuff day in and day out.

No one’s brain is the same as any other. Not based on sex, race, sexual orientation or any other factors. And to perpetuate the myth that they are is just a subtle form of hate.

I am glad that Google fired his ass. This sort of behavior has absolutely no place in any employer, because it is out and out sexual harassment. No one gets to make generalizations or comments because of sex.

And I pity him, and the people at Google that are perpetuating this culture where women are not valued as equals. They are shooting themselves in the foot by turning away talent.

And I also pity him (and them) because only fear can lie at the root of such discrimination. Fear that is born out of insecurity.

So my message to him: man up, grow some balls and accept that yes, there are women out there that are better than you. And who won’t put up with this sort of bullshit in the workplace. If anything, it proves that we are smarter because we aren’t willing to constantly have to prove ourselves over and over again and take the bullshit thrown at us.

Not putting up with discrimination and harassment doesn’t mean we don’t have the brains for programming. It means we’re not willing to put up with demeaning situations.


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