Many Google employees have expressed outrage over a document in which a senior Google engineer reportedly claims that biological gender differences make women less effective programmers and argues that the company should not actively work to improve diversity in staffing.
The document is a personal statement not sanctioned in any way by the company, but has been circulating widely within Google, according to reports. It was described by Motherboard based on interviews with Google employees who had read it.
Googlers have also been reacting to the document on Twitter with what might be described as unsurprised rage. “Still shaking in anger,” wrote Jaana B. Dogan.
“My team with 50% female-identified routinely scrutinized,” wrote Rick Altherr in response to another worker’s complaint. “I’ve had to be advocate to get fairness for them.”
The title of the document is “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” and its author has not been identified. It appears to have been circulating since at least Thursday.
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Google, whose corporate motto used to be “Don’t Be Evil,” is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for paying women less than men. And while public response to the “Echo Chamber” document has been largely negative, it has been described as a window into more widespread beliefs within the Silicon Valley company.
“This person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it,” one Google employee told Motherboard. “But there are sadly more people like him.”
Google has so far not responded publicly to the document. Fortune has requested comment.
There is no evidence that women are inherently less skilled coders than men and women were well-represented among the pioneers of computing. According to one compelling theory, women became less likely to pursue engineering degrees starting in the mid-1980s, when personal computers first began to be marketed as toys for little boys.