The opinions expressed in entries in the LC Blog are those of the author, not of Lawyers Club of San Diego.
No advancement in anti-discrimination, as recognized by Professor Hill, and as demonstrated by Google
At the 2017 Lawyers Club Annual Dinner, keynote speaker Anita Hill shared her experiences with both race and gender discrimination with a record audience. Professor Hill acknowledged that while it is certainly more of a public issue now than it was in the 90s, solutions to the problem of discrimination have advanced little since that time.
The truth of her statement was grandly demonstrated by an internal Google memo that was leaked to the media last week. The ten-page memo, penned by a male Google software engineer, is the epitome of an anti-diversity statement. The memo came to light at the same time as Google is battling a wage discrimination investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. Thus far, that investigation has uncovered that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles. The author argues that women are underrepresented in tech because of inherent psychological differences of their gender, not because they face bias and discrimination.
The following is the memo author’s statement of his position: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.” The author then goes on to provide a bulleted list of “personality differences” of women which cause the disparity, which is simply too ridiculous and nonsensical to quote here.
The release of this memo prompted Professor Hill to write an Op-Ed for the New York Times, wherein she discussed the male-dominated leadership of Silicon Valley, and reflected upon how deeply and passionately anti-equality attitudes are held. With words echoing the Lawyers Club mission statement, she said, “It’s time women in tech consider taking advantage of the law to disrupt the industry once and for all.”
What do you think?
Kristen Marquis Fritz is an attorney with Smaha Law Group and is also the owner of Professional Fiduciaries of San Diego, Inc.