In the workplaces of tech-related businesses, one word is bound to cause a lot of noise both for and against its meaning: #Diversity. Long has the story of women employees in major tech firms like #Google struggling for equal pay and work opportunities – not to mention corporate treatment – been in the spotlight of news. This week the spotlight of media attention on technological workplace diversity shone even brighter in the wake of a development in Google.

A senior software engineer uploaded an internal anti-diversity manifesto in the company’s servers that has since reached viral status and either been condemned or supported by its readers.

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At the latest word, Google has since let the screed’s author go.

‘Against’ diversity

While the 10-page internal memo entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," containing condemnatory remarks against Google’s diversity initiatives, has been in internal circulation for most of the last week, the contents only became public knowledge over the weekend.

The author, a software engineer, reportedly identified as #James Damore, had argued that there is no bias in the disparity of male-female pay in the tech sector, pointing out that this is due to actual physical differences between male and female biology. He also remarked that the company’s diversity measures are instead hurting the prospects of employees with “conservative” views such as himself.

The screed quite obviously generated a lot of hostility from Google’s female workforce and other proponents of the company’s diversity.

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It was these negative reactions that found their way onto social media and blew the controversy wide open for Google. The company has taken the step of removing Damore from employment for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Damore has confirmed his sacking while Google has not commented further. CEO Sundar Pichai did send an email entitled “Our Words matter” to employees about the manifesto, describing some of its content as being offensive and “Not OK.”

Criticism and support

As the contents of James Damore’s screed have become available for public viewing, it has suddenly triggered a divide in opinions regarding its merit. While there is indeed a significant faction decrying the anti-diversity stance of the manifesto, there is also a vocal minority that agrees with it.

Their conclusion is that the diversity Google ought to be fostering in its company should be in ideology rather than gender. The firing of Damore over the fallout of his words has also made him into a martyr for conservatives pushing ideological diversity over the liberal-aligned gender diversity.

Google has not been the only tech firm with diversity-related problems. Ride-hailing service Uber has been hit by this problem, and may even have come off worse than Google over it.