When former Google software engineer James Damore’s memo led to his termination and cast attention on the issues he raised, it created an uproar among female movers and shakers in business, academe and the tech industry.

Damore received company rebuke when he released and had an anti-diversity memo published. The memo underscored, among other issues, that women are under-represented in the technology sector owing mainly to their innate biological shortcomings.

Howls of protest

It understandably raised howls of protest among female achievers, including those who have spent years building a career and thriving in the tech profession.

While numerous female professionals criticized Damore’s sweeping generalizations about women, others saw the upside – how it started a dialogue and cast attention on biases hurled at female workers.

Among those who denounced Damore’s views on female workers was former Google vice president-turned-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who stated on Facebook that inequality in technology did not stem from gender differences. For years, Sandberg has been conveying – in her books and even in an international forum like the World Economic Forum -- that people need to go beyond gender stereotypes.

Part of Damore’s 10-page letter entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” went further to claim that women on average have more “neuroticism” that makes them less tolerant of stress than men, and are more talkative than assertive.

Organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant had earlier expressed that it is a travesty when discussions about data evolve into name-calling.

Putting things in context

Grant’s takeaway message is that there are differences in interests and opportunities opened to men and women, but they are not biologically determined.

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Jordan Bernt Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto posted on his Twitter page a lengthy interview with James Damore, putting everything the fired employee said in context.

While some individuals surmised the memo may have sprung from Damore’s resentment toward Google’s diversity initiatives, others welcomed it.

As entrepreneur-author Jurgen Appelo said on his Twitter page, diversity of thought (but not the type that appears nice in a group photo) is essential.

James Damore himself has posted countless articles backing him up and has even invited people, through a Twitter page (describing him as fired for “telling the truth”) to dispute his claims in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum. In the meantime, the fired Google employee has been thrust into the spotlight and gained several job offers.