Why I agree with the Google engineer’s rant

A Google software engineer – assumed to be a male – has penned a manifesto that launches a tirade against the company’s diversity initiatives.

The rant, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, has unsurprisingly gone viral. In Trump’s post-truth, alternative-facts peddling world, everything is up for debate and discussion, so people are having a field day debating this.

And it’s a doozy, as he shares all sorts of insights and ideas, like:


Men have a higher drive for status.
“We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.”

Women aren’t wired to be as tough.
“Women generally have a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.”

Men’s hands are tied.
“Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more ‘feminine’, then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.”

For Google, the timing of the document leak is pretty bad, as it comes right as the tech giant is battling a wage discrimination war with the US Department of Labor, over claims that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles.

Perhaps that’s why Danielle Brown, Vice President for Diversity, Integrity and Governance at Google, very quickly issued a statement, saying that she found the manifesto “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”

(Does anyone find it ironic that she doesn’t link to the file? She’s from Google – the company that is literally responsible for linking files – everyone will just Google it!)

There were plenty of other views expressed in the 10-page document, and while I didn’t agree with them all, I reckon he made a few valid points.

As a society, we are making great strides in closing the gender pay gap and boosting more women towards leadership positions. But perhaps the solution isn’t always to push women towards the traditional man’s lifestyle, but to create more flexibility and better lifestyles for everyone, regardless of gender?

I know a lot of men who work 50-60 hours a week and lead high-stress lifestyles. If that’s the kind of equality women are marching towards, we need a serious re-think.