• The James Damore Google Tech-Bro Meme Stating that Women are Biologically Unsuited to Work at Tech Professions (Part 2)

The James Damore Google Tech-Bro Meme Stating that Women are Biologically Unsuited to Work at Tech Professions (Part 2)

(( Part 1 ))


I believe, it is my view, that the thing that really motivated this guy, Damore, to write this entire memo was this part of his memo (for more on who this guy is, and what my posts are all about, please see Part 1):

In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.

(end)

I am a conservative – and yes, I agree, often times, liberals use P.C. to silence dissenters by using fear.

I’m sympathetic with this guy to a point, but the way to correct some over-bearing P.C. beliefs or practices of liberals, or a P.C. work culture, is not to argue, as he’s doing essentially, that some sexist views should be openly practiced or embraced.

Damore wants to openly believe sexist things about women, and wants to argue for corporate policies that would hold women back, but he doesn’t want to be held accountable for any of this – because holding him accountable would be, in his view, “political correctness” or a case of liberals picking on a conservative.

I’m a right winger, I am a conservative myself, and sorry, dude, but I’m not buying this.

I may be anti-P.C., and I’m not fond of all things liberal, but I am opposed to sexism, no matter who, what, where, when or why it’s being championed or allowed.

And the fact that you, Damore, keep insisting in your memo that your sexist views really aren’t sexist because biology!, and because you really aren’t sexist, doesn’t really change the fact that those views are in fact… sexist. They’re still sexist.

I find it oh so interesting that while Damore advocates very specific things about women – such as, that Google stop offering classes just for women – he writes:

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.
These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.

(end)

-or where he argues women are naturally this or that (say, that they are less assertive), and that he denies conditioning explains a lot of male-female differences – he does not do this with race.

He mentions the word “race” here or there in the memo, but does not get into specifics regarding black people, as he does with women.

To reiterate a point I raised earlier (in Part 1), how different the reaction from fellow conservatives would’ve been had Damore argued something like this:

“Science has shown that most blacks, your “average” blacks, are dumber than whites. Google Corp. likes to offer special classes and mentoring programs ONLY for blacks. However, I don’t feel this is fair to whites or conservatives, who also deserve classes, and I’m usually too afraid to say this openly, because y’all a bunch of liberals.”

That is really what Damore is arguing, but in regards to women.

Because his major focus is on WOMEN, and on science supposedly saying thus and so about ALL (or most) women, conservatives and other non-liberals are willing to overlook how terribly offensive this all is.

Non-liberals are more worked up over the free speech, censorship, and “liberals firing the guy” angle. Not me.

If you wouldn’t tolerate this guy, or make excuses for, Damore making such arguments about black people, why on earth would you do so when he does this to women? I find that mind boggling.

Facts Vs. Feelings and Personal Anecdotes

Where Damore writes:

De-emphasize empathy.

I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain— causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

(end)

I’m not totally opposed to facts. Facts sure do have a place in disagreements, that is true enough.

However, I didn’t really see any facts backing up his claims that women are more “thus and so” than men. I didn’t see any book titles or URLs or authors cited for his claims.

Not only does Damore not cite facts to back up his claims (edit: please see here), but even if his claims about women could be shown true, it cannot be demonstrated that just because most women may have more of quality “X” than most men, that therefore, women should not do “Z.”

– He doesn’t explain how he gets from his claim to his conclusion or implementation or consequence about his claim.

While I am not opposed to facts in making arguments, I also think it’s a mistake to always or completely ignore emotion – or to ignore how rules, ideas, and doctrines can harm people.

Edit:

…Many of Damore’s controversial conclusions rest heavily on one recent study and much older, now-discredited research, ignoring reams of data that tell a very different story. (source here, and excerpts below)

Akin to the Christian Doctrine of Complementarianism

Damore asking us to reject empathy in favor of “facts only” sounds a bit too much like conservative Christians who don’t like to acknowledge that their doctrines are not just abstract principles they like to debate for fun on forums, but have real life (and sometimes death) consequences for people.

Damore doesn’t like anecdotes? My life is more than an anecdote.

I had to live under a teaching called Christian gender complementarianism as I was indoctrinated in it by my family.

This teaching essentially conveys that God favors men to women, and that women must submit to men. I was hurt and stunted by this teaching, as I’ve written of in other blog posts. I finally rejected it by my mid-30s.

But the fact that this complementarian doctrine harms real life women, such as me, never counts for anything among complementarians.

My real life means nothing to complementarians. The practical out-working that living comp had on my life means nothing to comps.

My lived experience does not bolster their gender theology but disproves it, so complementarians feel fine disregarding it, rather than asking,

“Since complementarianism doesn’t work for everyone, and even hurts some people, maybe we should consider we misunderstand what the Bible says about gender?”

No, introspection is not on the complementarian menu, not when it conflicts with their views and assumptions.

Did Christian blogger Tim Challies care that complementarian male headship doctrines led to the abuse of author Ruth Tucker (and many other Christian women)? No.

All Challies cares about, as is typical of other complementarians, is upholding his precious male headship doctrine.

Doesn’t matter to complementarians how many women are killed or beaten or driven to suicide due to the male headship doctrine.

I am really not opposed to utilizing facts and studies to make a point, but for people to completely disregard someone’s personal testimony in how a certain belief or teaching harmed them, seems rather cold.

Easy For Damore To Say

And I note that it’s easy for a man, such as Damore, to rattle off sexist arguments as he does, since he’s not the one as impacted by sexist views as women are (ie, not being hired in the first place, not receiving pay raises, etc) – how convenient for him.

To quote Dr NerdLove:

Conflicting Studies and Scientific Reports

Damore said:

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.

(end)

Not only did I not see Damore cite sources for his claims that women are better or worse at X due to biology (edit: please see here), but some research or scientific studies contradict his views. Such as:

Men and women do not have different brains, claims neuroscientist

The brains of men and women aren’t really that different, study finds

Science Says Men’s and Women’s Brains Not So Different

We’re now one step closer to understanding the differences, or lack thereof, between men and women’s brains

Here are articles noting that how men are perceived differently from women is due to societal conditioning and biases:

What Trans Men See That Women Don’t

“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”

Why Aren’t Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person.

Snippets:

by J Nordell

…Having experienced the workplace from both perspectives, they [transgender persons] hold the key to its biases.

 …Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres until he was in his forties.

For most of his career, he experienced bias, but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”)

When he became Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday experience:

“People who don’t know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings.

At one conference, another scientist said, “Ben gave a great seminar today—but then his work is so much better than his sister’s.” (The scientist didn’t know Ben and Barbara were the same person.)

“This is why women are not breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am taken more seriously.”

(end)

And:

What Happened When A Man Signed Work Emails Using A Female Name For 2 Weeks

What one man learned about sexism from swapping names with his female colleague for a week

‘It f***ing sucked’: Man switches email signatures with his female coworker for a week – and the dramatic change in the way he’s treated leaves him stunned 

To Fire Or Not To Fire?

Whether or not this Damore guy should have been fired, I do not know for sure, though the more I ponder it, the more I am tilting to, “You know I think I might be okay with it.”

If Damore had said similar things about black people (while on the job, on his employer’s work site), I’d also have a difficult time feeling sorry for him being fired.

If this guy had spouted these views about women on his own time, on his own home computer on a personal blog or site of his, I might feel somewhat differently.

Remember the university who sacked the professor,  Ward Churchill, who said Americans “deserved” 9-11 during his tenure? I had a hard time feeling sorry for him, too.

What I find disturbing is that Damore holds some sexist views but does not perceive them as sexist – in part, because he believes they are biologically grounded – plus he is advocating that his views structure how a business runs and operates – who gets hired, fired, promoted, gets a pay raise, who gets what projects, etc.

(Though, for the 100th time, I did not see him name the scientific studies to which he was referring or had read, at least not on the Gizmodo site which has a copy of his memo. Edit: please see here).

Even If Your Grant Damore His Premises….

I’d also add, even if we were to grant Damore the premise that women are more “X” than men, it does not follow from this, that women cannot do Career Z, that woman are not competent at Z, or that women should not be hired by companies to perform duty Z.

Sexists Will Use His Arguments Regardless of His Motives

Unfortunately, Damore seems too naive to realize that once you start arguing on the basis of “biology” or “studies show that…” some people who dislike women will use such findings or claims to intentionally bar women from advancement or career entry.

Then, you may have individuals who are not inherently sexist but who may, in the back of their minds, think something like,

“Well, perhaps I should hire a man for this position rather than a woman, because this job is more “things” or “tech” oriented, and I did read a study two years ago that said men are better with “things” or “tech” than most women.”

Under either scenario, individual women will be shut out of opportunities or advancement – and this Damore guy claims to want to see women as “individuals” – but his theories about all women would hurt individuals.

COMMENTARY, REBUTTALS

I could nit pick Damore’s memo all day, and this blog post would be 50 pages long. I’d rather not go there. I may or may not make a part 3 and do so in the future. For now, I am giving it a rest.

Rather than continue on myself, I will link you to some articles that refute or offer rebuttals to Damore’s view points, or other related commentary.

First, to repeat, if you’d like to read Damore’s memo (I read most of it, and it was eye-glazing material):

Memo by Damore

Rebuttals, Responses:

Dear Googler Who Says Women Are Unsuited For Tech–You Don’t Know Us

Adam Grant: The Differences Between Men and Women Are Vastly Exaggerated  

Snippets:

by A. Grant

It’s always precarious to make claims about how one half of the population differs from the other half — especially on something as complicated as technical skills and interests. But I think it’s a travesty when discussions about data devolve into name-calling and threats. As a social scientist, I prefer to look at the evidence.

The gold standard is a meta-analysis: a study of studies, correcting for biases in particular samples and measures. Here’s what meta-analyses tell us about gender differences:

1. When it comes to abilities, attitudes and actions, sex differences are few and small.

Across 128 domains of the mind and behavior, “78% of gender differences are small or close to zero.” A recent addition to that list is leadership, where men feel more confident but women are rated as more competent.

…3. Where male advantages in math ability exist, they’re heavily influenced by cultural biases.

If you don’t see bias there, try this: when teachers know students’ names, boys do better on math tests. Yet when grading is anonymous, girls do better on math tests.

And before a math test, reminding college students of their gender leads girls to perform 43% worse than boys. But if you just call it a problem-solving test, the gender gap in performance disappears.

Biases affect men, too. Women are stereotyped as more empathetic, and they do score higher than men when you test the ability to read other people’s thoughts and feelings. But if you don’t introduce it as an empathy test, the gender gap vanishes.

…4. There are sex differences in interests, but they’re not biologically determined.

The data on occupational interests do reveal strong male preferences for working with things and strong female preferences for working with people. But they also reveal that men and women are equally interested in working with data.

So why are there so many more male than female engineers? Because women have systematically been discouraged from working with computers.

(end)

Google employee’s theory that women are unsuited to tech jobs provokes immediate backlash

A Google engineer wrote that women may be genetically unsuited for tech jobs. Women wrote back.

‘White men not biologically suited to writing diversity memos’: Columnist destroys sexist Google bro  

I found myself agreeing with much of this editorial, though he’s a left winger, and I’m a right winger:

Column: Google bro’s diversity memo shows biological failings of white dudes  

by R. Huppke

….Consider this week’s firing of a white, male Google employee who published a 10-page memo about diversity on an internal company forum.

…The memo is riddled with sexist stereotypes poorly supported by scientific references that are, at best, dodgy. And it contains repeated statements that the author is all for diversity, is not sexist and eschews stereotypes — statements proven false by the aforementioned poorly supported sexist stereotypes.

…He can say or write whatever he wants. But the things he says and writes might come with consequences, particularly when he’s sharing his words on an internal company forum.

This isn’t a First Amendment issue. The government isn’t interfering with anybody’s right to free speech. Still, many white guys have rushed to the Google bro’s defense, crying about how put upon they are because they’re never allowed to speak their minds.

If you are a white guy in America, you are not put upon. And if you feel put upon, it’s because you can’t be bothered to put yourself in another person’s shoes for half a minute and try to understand what being put upon actually looks like.

…The pros and cons and the implementation of diversity programs can and should certainly be discussed openly, but a self-righteous screed that’s blind to anyone else’s point of view isn’t a discussion. It’s a white guy mansplaining to female and non-white coworkers how diversity should work, and the very existence of that kind of thinking is why companies need diversity training.

… [As a white man, I’d like to say to other white men that] Some white men are not biologically suited to writing memos about diversity.

They are too neurotic and tend to perform better in bubbles in which their sense of dominance is reinforced by other neurotic white men. These white men also tend to be overly emotional, particularly when fired for writing diversity memos, and can become hysterical when held accountable.

(end)

A Google engineer wrote that women may be genetically unsuited for tech jobs. Women wrote back.

Slack engineer Erica Baker, whom CNBC called an “outspoken critic of systematic bias in the tech industry,” said the engineer’s diatribe was shocking but not surprising.

“Google has seen hints of this in the past, with employees sharing blog posts about their racist beliefs and the occasional internal mailing list question, ‘innocently’ asking if Black people aren’t more likely to be violent,” she wrote on her blog Saturday.

“The most important question we should be asking of leaders at Google and that they should be asking of themselves is this: Why is the environment at Google such that racists and sexists feel supported and safe in sharing these views in the company?”

(end)

Sorry, Google memo man: women were in tech long before you

by H Brockwell

James Damore’s controversial manifesto says women are genetically unsuited to tech roles. Doesn’t he know they were the original computer programmers?

….Unluckily for James Damore, author of thenotorious Google anti-diversity memo, that means he also gets to hear our responses.

And women – especially women in tech – have them ready and prepared. Because we hear from clowns like him all the time.

The viewpoint Damore is espousing is known as biological essentialism. It’s used by people who have been told all their lives that they’re special and brilliant, and in moments of insecurity or arrogance, seek to prove this with junk science.

Junk science like “women are biologically unsuited to technical work”, which – despite all his thesaurus-bothering, pseudoscientific linguistic cladding (see, I can do it too) – is the reductive crux of his argument.

Damore clearly thinks he’s schooling the world on biology, but it’s actually history he should have been paying attention to. Because he either doesn’t know or has chosen to forget that women were the originators of programming, and dominated the software field until men rode in and claimed all the glory.

… The fact is, programming was considered repetitive, unglamorous “women’s work”, like typing and punching cards, until it turned out to be a lucrative and prestigious field. Then, predictably, the achievements of women were wiped from the scoreboard and men like James Damore pretended they were never there.

It might be comforting for mediocre men to believe that they’re simply born superior. That’s what society’s been telling them all their lives, and no one questions a compliment.

But when they try to dress up their insecurities as science, they’d better be ready for women to challenge them on the facts. Because really, sexism is just bad programming, and we’d be happy to teach you how to fix it.

(end)

That last editorial brings up an interesting point I’ve seen before in other research: jobs that are considered “feminine” are low paying and low-glam, until men take them over!

There are papers out there that explain once men take over a profession, whether it’s cooking, or teaching, or whatever – the pay increases, it is viewed as being important, and women are edged out.

Then there are issues such as this:

Why Men Still Earn More Even in Female Dominated Professions

But there is another equally persistent inequality: Men in traditionally women-dominated fields such as nursing, teaching, and childcare still get paid more.

… Ladky has observed the phenomenon that happens when men enter a female-dominated field. Rather than hit the glass ceiling, men in jobs like nursing or teaching appear to glide up to higher pay and management positions on a “glass escalator.”

…“The wage gap in these professions is often a consequence of unconscious but persistent bias–that men are simply more capable, that women with children are less committed to their work, and so on,” she explains.

…“These women and men did the same work, yet the less experienced newcomers to the field were considered computer experts, while the women who trained them were merely expendable workers. This has everything to do with power and cultural expectation, and nothing to do with biological difference.”

(end)

We’ve studied gender and STEM for 25 years. The science doesn’t support the Google memo.

Snippets:

These are some issues that males simply do not have to face. The “anxiety gap” exists for a reason, and it is not about biology.

…Damore argued that many men in the company agreed with his sentiments. That’s not surprising, since the idea that women just can’t hack it in math and science has been around for a very long time. It has been argued that women’s lack of a “math gene,” their brain structures and their inherent psychological traits put most of them out of the game.

Some critics sided with Damore. For example, columnist Ross Douthat of the New York Times found his scientific arguments intriguing.

But are they? What are the real facts? We have been researching issues of gender and STEM (science, technology engineering and math) for more than 25 years. We can say flatly that there is no evidence that women’s biology makes them incapable of performing at the highest levels in any STEM fields.

Many reputable scientific authorities have weighed in on this question, including a major paper in the journal Science debunking the idea that the brains of males and females are so different that they should be educated in single-sex classrooms.

The paper was written by eight prominent neuroscientists, headed by professor Diane Halpern of Claremont McKenna College, past president of the American Psychological Association. They argue that “There is no well-designed research showing that single-sex education improves students’ academic performance, but there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism.”

They add, “Neuroscientists have found few sex differences in children’s brains beyond the larger volume of boys’ brains and the earlier completion of girls’ brain growth, neither of which is known to relate to learning.”

Several major books have debunked the idea of important brain differences between the sexes. Lise Eliot, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, did an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on human brains from birth to adolescence. She concluded, in her book “Pink Brain, Blue Brain,” that there is “surprisingly little solid evidence of sex differences in children’s brains.”

… Damore cites the work of Simon Baron-Cohen, who argues in his widely reviewed book “The Essential Difference” that boys are biologically programmed to focus on objects, predisposing them to math and understanding systems, while girls are programmed to focus on people and feelings. The British psychologist claims that the male brain is the “systematizing brain” while the female brain is the “empathizing” brain.

This idea was based on a study of day-old babies, which found that the boys looked at mobiles longer and the girls looked at faces longer. Male brains, Baron-Cohen says, are ideally suited for leadership and power…

…The female brain, on the other hand, is specialized for making friends, mothering, gossip and “reading” a partner.

But Baron-Cohen’s study had major problems. It was an “outlier” study. No one else has replicated these findings, including Baron-Cohen himself. It is so flawed as to be almost meaningless. Why?

The experiment lacked crucial controls against experimenter bias and was badly designed. Female and male infants were propped up in a parent’s lap and shown, side by side, an active person or an inanimate object. Since newborns can’t hold their heads up independently, their visual preferences could well have been determined by the way their parents held them

…He [Damore] implies that stress and anxiety are personality traits inherent in females, but more likely they are due to the pressures and discrimination women face on the job that men do not. For example, a 2008 report sponsored by major companies, “The Athena Factor,” found that women in high positions in male-dominated fields, such as tech, suffer harsher penalties than men when they slip up. Women don’t get second chances. Men do.

…Her [a woman’s] resume may look exactly like his, but because her name is Mary and not John, she may not get a second look. A review of studies of U.S. decision makers who have the power to hire candidates found that clearly competent men were rated higher than equally competent women.

This bias is especially rampant in the high-tech industry. One study, conducted by professors at Columbia, Northwestern and the University of Chicago, found that two-thirds of managers selected male job candidates, even when the men did not perform as well as the women on math problems that were part of the application process.

Throw in the facts that, according to research, competent men are seen as likeable, while competent women are seen as bitchy, that women get less credit for their accomplishments than men do, that men are often promoted on promise while women get elevated only on the basis of performance, and that sexual harassment is a constant problem for women in tech.

…Many of Damore’s controversial conclusions rest heavily on one recent study and much older, now-discredited research, ignoring reams of data that tell a very different story.

(end)

What do Fox News and Google have in common? Sexism.

He [Damore] did them a favor telling them exactly what they are still up against — the unchained male ego, which spans the generations and allows belief in male superiority to flourish and be rewarded, no matter how cool the corporate vibe. Some men have evolved beyond it.

But enough still believe what the 28-year-old Damore was preaching: that women are emotional, sensitive creatures, whose higher anxiety levels and lower stress tolerance make them a bad fit for tech jobs specifically and leadership positions generally.

…Not coincidentally, conservatives are also complaining that Google’s decision to fire Damore is an effort to stifle thinking that doesn’t conform with progressive politics and liberal values.

While Damore’s memo pretends to make a case for “ideological diversity,” he wanted something more than freedom to express a point of view. What he envisioned was a Google where boys can be boys — by taking command of the serious, technical guy stuff — and girls can be channeled to softer, “people-oriented” tasks.

..How depressing for all those bright, young female engineers out there who encounter such medieval thinking in their hip, open-concept workplaces.

Because Damore is not an outlier.

The stories out of places like Uber, Twitter, Microsoft, and Oracle are ominously familiar. Just as in other industries and professions, the Silicon Valley playing field for men and women is not even.

(end)

YouTube CEO perfectly sums up why Google engineer’s memo is so hurtful

 Wojcicki also came out forcefully against memo’s defenders, who have positioned it as a free speech issue. “The language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.”

(end)

As to this next headline, I don’t think being opposed to sexism, especially in a place of employment, is a case of “group think” –

Fired Google Engineer: Gender Memo Was My Response to ‘Group-Think’

An open letter to James Damore

Snippet:

You didn’t quite come out and say you thought the gender problem in tech is that women are stupider and more neurotic than men. But you came close: “the left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ and sex differences)” and “Women, on average, have more neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).”

Choosing between aggression and empathy

I’d like your thoughts about whether it makes sense to mandate unconscious bias training, and other suggestions you make. But I’m not eager to talk with someone who’s predisposed to think I’m stupider and more neurotic than he is because I’m a woman.

When you make an argument that shows no concern for the people you’re talking to, and exhibits little awareness that your argument is more an ensemble of opinion than proven science or fact, others will experience your words as obnoxious aggression. You’ve lost credibility and hurt your relationships.

Not being obnoxious doesn’t mean you have to become ruinously empathetic. I agree that it’s a mistake to be so concerned about feelings that you can’t point out a problem when you see one. But thinking you must choose between obnoxious aggression and ruinous empathy is a false dichotomy.

You don’t need to choose between your mind and your emotions. You can care and challenge. When you pretend the emotional factors that govern all of us — even you — don’t exist, you don’t become more rational, you just fall prey to self-deception and communicate poorly.

(end)

Read YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s Response to the Controversial Google Anti-Diversity Memo 

Snippets:

Some of those responding to the memo are trying to defend its authorship as an issue of free speech.

As a company that has long supported free expression, Google obviously stands by the right that employees have to voice, publish or tweet their opinions.

But while people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender. Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments.

For instance, what if we replaced the word “women” in the memo with another group? What if the memo said that biological differences amongst Black, Hispanic, or LGBTQ employees explained their underrepresentation in tech and leadership roles?

Would some people still be discussing the merit of the memo’s arguments or would there be a universal call for swift action against its author?

I don’t ask this to compare one group to another, but rather to point out that the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.

(end)

Sorry, Google guy: ‘Biological’ reasons have justified sexism long enough

Snippets:

by A. Eul

….According to Mr. Damore, the lack of women in tech is not a result of systemic discrimination, no. It is nature – and caused by the biological differences between women and men.

If there are any real victims at all, it’s men like Mr. Damore, according (of course) to Mr. Damore.

He has been silenced by a monoculture of “political correctness” that has taken over Google, the tech industry and the world.

On Monday, Mr. Damore was fired – and another sharp debate about sexism took over Silicon Valley. And for good reason: His belief in the so-called universal biological differences always has been the bottom line for sexism and racism alike.

And his argument doesn’t seem to be in line with the image that Google (and arguably most of Silicon Valley) has been working on for years. As an industry, tech has long been believed to be a hostile bro club that satisfies men’s demand for power by creating new technologies that make them even more powerful.

…That Mr. Damore argues on a biological background – that women as such are more open to “aesthetics and feelings rather than ideas,” prefer “people rather than things” and are more “gregarious” and “agreeable” than men – might even sound like a compliment to some women.

But in the end, this argument reduces all females to a role we have been forced into. As Simone de Beauvoir writes in her book, The Second Sex, “One is not born a woman, but becomes one.”

History is full of examples where the “nature of women” was used to exclude women from all sorts of bro clubs.

In Germany, for example, women were excluded from universities until the early 1900s. In those days, scholars such as the physician Theodor von Bischoff argued that women’s intellectual development is “much closer to a child than a man” – proven by measuring the size of their heads and brains.

Or recall the Suffragettes fighting for women’s right to vote in Great Britain, which was finally granted in 1928: One of their greatest challenges was to erase the idea that women weren’t able to think in a political way.

(end)

I’m a woman in computer science. Let me ladysplain the Google memo to you.

The Weeds: one reason women really don’t want to work at Google

They don’t want to be surrounded by people who think they’re inferior.

The Google engineer’s memo shows the stereotypes that keep women out of STEM

Snippets:

His memo inadvertently answered that question — not in his criticism of Google’s diversity programs, but by perpetuating the same stereotypes that keep women from choosing careers in science and engineering in the first place.

Damore’s memo claims to be making an evidence-based argument about men and women’s representation in fields like computer engineering, which makes it notable that he ignores literally hundreds of studies that link gender stereotypes and biases to girls’ negative views of their own abilities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) — stereotypes that it reinforces.

The messaging that girls are not good at math and science has a powerful effect on them starting in middle school, research shows [pdf]. So does the perception that liberal arts careers are more feminine while STEM careers are more masculine.

These studies suggest it’s not biology holding women back. It’s stereotypes like those Damore advanced in his memo. Attitudes like his are a major reason why so few women engineers work in Silicon Valley — not just due to their direct effect on his co-workers, but because of how they shape girls’ ambitions from an early age.

(end)

Sometimes, I do feel liberals go way too far with the PC stuff, but in this particular case – I am having a hard time defending Damore on this.

When I first began these posts (at part 1), I first started out thinking maybe the employer was a little too harsh in firing Damore, and should’ve simply taken him down to H.R. for a talk. But now, after having thought it over, I’m not so sure.

If you write sexist material and publish it on your company’s site (and during work hours?), you will likely get in trouble….

Just as if you were to write a similar editorial on your employer’s site saying you feel science has shown black people are lazier than whites, and ergo, only whites should be promoted to lofty positions, and that blacks are best-suited for keeping the company kitchenette tidy.

I can just imagine your ass would be hauled down to Human Resources over that, and you’d eventually have to clean out your desk and be escorted off company property. Why should it be differently for an employee who writes comparable things about women on company time or on a company computer?


The James Damore Google Tech-Bro Meme Stating that Women are Biologically Unsuited to Work at Tech Professions (Part 1)

I’d like to add more links to this post about the Damore memo as I find them


See Also:

On Men Not Believing Women and Being Blind to the Sexism and Harassment Women Often Endure

Complementarian Misrepresentations and Misunderstandings of Non-Comps and of Feminism

Christian Gender Complementarianism is Christian-Endorsed Codependency for Women (And That’s Not A Good Thing)

Even Warm and Fuzy, True, Correctly-Implemented Gender Complementarianism is Harmful to Women, and It’s Still Sexism – Yes All Comps (Refuting “Not All Comps”)

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