There's a place for you at Google: Pichai to girl innovators

Google CEO Pichai cancels'town hall on gender dispute

His public remarks at a coding event aimed at girls, first reported by The Verge, come after a week of controversy sparked by an internal memo written by a Google employee criticising the Californian tech company's diversity policy and arguing biology may be behind the gender divide in tech.

The ongoing lack of diversity in the entire tech sector is an issue that has grown an even bigger head of steam in recent months, with a steady stream of stories about big firms and big names being held to account.

James Damore, an engineer at Google, was sacked on Monday after his 3,000-word essay, which argued that biological differences were responsible for gender disparity, provoked heated discussion.

In a memo to employees on Thursday afternoon, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he canceled the meeting after questions to be asked at the meeting were posted online, raising concerns that employees identified in the leak would be harassed.

Damore, whom the Times said had worked at Google's search group, is now planning to sue his former employer for wrongful termination.

Damore, worked at Google since December 2013, told Bloomberg Television that he wrote the document for Google employees because he believed a "lack of ideological diversity has hurt our [Google-made] products".

James Damore's suggestion that it is because they are biologically less suited to it has caused considerable anger, particularly among those who have forged successful Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers. It quickly spilled over into an all-out culture war outside the company, putting Google and its employees in the crosshairs.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a known provocateur and former editor at Breitbart News, posted a photo showing the Twitter profiles of eight Google employees, including Brown, who spoke out publicly against the memo. "A smaller percentage of you wish we would do more", he wrote. The protest's organizers say they are reaching out to Damore to speak. The engineer has claimed he had a right to voice concerns over workplace conditions and filed a labour relations board complaint prior to being fired.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Google's firing of Damore has made him something of a free expression martyr among conservatives.

"I am a moderately conservative Googler", wrote one employee, "and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs". The loud voice here is the liberal one. "What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel *invited and accepted*, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?" Two years in, how he handles the manifesto and the conservative backlash within the company could be the defining controversy of his tenure.



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