One of the top women at Google has issued a response to the controversial memo swirling around the company that suggested women are unsuited for tech jobs and more neurotic than men.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Google unit YouTube, wrote a column for Fortune in which she criticized the memo and its argument that “biological differences” play a role in why so few women hold tech and leadership jobs in Silicon Valley.
Wojcicki’s column starts by relating a conversation she had with her daughter after the memo became public.
“Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?”
She then wrote about the discrimination she continues to experience as woman in tech, despite her status.
“Time and again, I’ve faced the slights that come with that question,” she wrote. “I’ve had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned. I’ve been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I’ve had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt.”
She then wrote of the impact of the memo on women in the tech industry.
“I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others,” she wrote. “I thought about the women at Google who are now facing a very public discussion about their abilities, sparked by one of their own co-workers. I thought about the women throughout the tech field who are already dealing with the implicit biases that haunt our industry … now confronting them explicitly.”
James Damore, the Google ( software engineer who penned the memo, has been )fired by the company, a source confirmed to CNN.
While neither Google nor Wojcicki confirmed the firing, she appeared to defend the action in her column.
“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,” she wrote. “Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments.”
Damore said in a section of his memo that he values “diversity and inclusion, [I] am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.”
Wojcicki ended her column with an answer her daughter’s question simply by saying “No, it’s not true.”