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Yesterday, we took note of the contretemps at Google, where a software engineer’s internal memo criticizing the company’s diversity efforts as misguided, and suggesting that women are biologically less able to perform certain technology-based roles than men, went public, creating new employee concerns about the climate there at a time when the company is dealing with a federal probe into whether it routinely pays women less than men. Indeed, the software engineer who wrote the original memo has been fired, but the controversy seems not to have abated. (The engineer has said he plans to sue.)

I commented, in part:

I have enormous trouble with the idea that some people are biologically better able to be engineers and scientists because of their gender…I think people have the right do think that way, but they do not have the right to block women from achieving what they want to achieve because of views that I would define as archaic.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter what I think. It matters, in this case, how Google is culturally constructed. And the powers that be there seem to view this guy’s opinions as archaic, too … hence his firing.

I have no idea whether the company’s actions are legal or not, though I must admit to looking forward to reading about how this case unfolds and writing about it from time to time. Google will argue that this is not retribution because of his politics or political incorrectness (which some will try to make it) as much as it is a necessary reaction to his apparent believe that anyone with a vagina cannot do his job as well as he can, simply because he has a penis. That’s not exactly a helpful attitude to hold in any workplace.


One MNB reader responded:

The definition of "political-correctness" is one group of people telling everyone else what's acceptable for them to think, do, and say - and then enforcing it by firing anyone they thereby deem “deplorable.”

I disagree. This person wasn’t just expressing an opinion … he was stating a position that within that organization could be considered tantamount to harassment.

Firing him wasn’t being politically correct. Just correct.

MNB reader Joye Crosby wrote:

I agree with you in all ways.  I am going to throw out another idea to ponder....Why not hire a male VP of diversity to run their program?  It seems to me we mostly find women in this position.  Maybe forcing a man to clean up their problem would be enlightening?  Just a thought….

It is true that Google’s VP - diversity is a female. I’m not sure that your idea is the best way to go. One of the problems that some men have is dealing with women in power positions, and having a woman in the job actually forces them to do so.

From MNB reader Hy Louis:

The comments from the Google engineer do have some merit.  Generally, unless it is high level professional sports, I have never seen where any gender is biologically inferior.  Psychologically on the other hand there seem to be obvious differences. Thats why we have all these diversity issues in the first place.  We are trying to fit square pegs in rounds holes. I have never once seen a male dental hygienist nor have I ever seen a female large appliance mover.  I'm sure someone, someplace has and will use that rare example to disagree with me.  We could list occupations all day long that appeal more to certain genders.  The role of diversity is not to simply force feed genders into certain jobs, but to find ways to better accommodate the psychological differences rather than the biological differences.  Almost any job can be appealing to any gender under the right conditions.

I did a quick check with the American Dental Association, and learned that 95.8 percent of US dental hygienists are female … which means that 4.2 percent are men. Not a lot, but not none.

Can’t find any stats about large appliance movers.

But for the record, the 2017 median salary for a dental hygienist is more than $72,000 … so maybe this is just an example of women being smarter than men.
KC's View: