James Damore is the 28-year-old Harvard-educated engineer who was fired from Google this week over a memo he wrote. It quoted the statistical differences between men and women and suggested they might explain why fewer women become software engineers.
“I don’t know how they can expect to silence so many engineers and deny science like this,” he said.
In his YouTube interviews he argued that men, on average, prefer to work alone, while women prefer to work cooperatively in groups. Which led him to conclude that if Google really wants more women writing software, instead of putting everyone through diversity training, just reorganize the coding process so engineers work in groups.
“In our interview, it’s all individual right now and it’s only how well you work by yourself and we never really measure how good someone is on a team.”
So, I asked Georgene Huang, one of the founders of FairyGodBoss.com — a website where women can rate the companies they work for — suppose you’re a white male who thinks diversity training isn’t working. Should you feel free to speak up? Absolutely, she said.
“You should absolutely be able to speak up.”
But what you shouldn’t do is imply that statistics are destiny.
“There are 70 million women in the workforce. Women who want to be CEOs. There are women who want to stop working after they have children. There are also men who are very lazy. There are also men who want to be CEOs who work very hard.”
She advises that if you’re male before you draw your conclusions about female biology, run it by a few females first.