One of Google’s highest-ranking women has answered that argumentative memo with a really personal essay


Susan Wojcicki, arch executive of YouTube, is a highest-ranking womanlike Google worker to respond to a memo controversy. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News)

Like many Google leaders, Susan Wojcicki probably faced some difficult questions from employees this week about a argumentative worker memo that exploded on amicable media. But a many personal doubt competence have come from her daughter.


In an essay published by Fortune on Wednesday, a arch executive of YouTube, that is owned by Google, wrote that her daughter asked her about a memo, that lifted questions about Google’s farrago efforts and enclosed statements about gender differences. It was created by a association operative who was dismissed progressing this week in a aftermath. “Mom,” her daughter asked her, “is it loyal that there are biological reasons because there are fewer women in tech and leadership?”

Before divulgence how she answered her daughter, Wojcicki said the question has been “pervasive,” formed on her experience. “That question, either it’s been asked outright, whispered quietly, or simply lingered in a behind of someone’s mind, has weighed heavily on me via my career in technology.”

She wrote that she’s had her abilities and pursuit joining questioned, been left out of attention events and amicable gatherings, watched as outward leaders addressed her some-more youth colleagues in meetings and been interrupted and ignored. “No matter how mostly this all happened, it still hurt,” she wrote.

As a result, “I suspicion about a women at Google who are now facing a really open discussion about their abilities, sparked by one of their possess co-workers,” she wrote. “And as my child asked me a doubt I’d prolonged sought to overcome in my possess life, we suspicion about how comfortless it was that this unfounded bias was now being unprotected to a new generation.”

Wojcicki also directly addressed a engineer’s dismissal. “As a association that has prolonged upheld giveaway expression, Google apparently stands by a right that employees have to voice, tell or chatter their opinions,” she wrote. “But while people competence have a right to demonstrate their beliefs in public, that does not meant companies can't take movement when women are subjected to comments that continue disastrous stereotypes about them formed on their gender.”

She also lifted a doubt of “what if we transposed a word ‘women’ in a memo with another group?” — such as black, Hispanic or LGBTQ employees. “Would some people still be deliberating a consequence of a memo’s arguments or would there be a concept call for quick movement opposite a author?”

In letter a essay, Wojcicki becomes a highest-ranking women during Google to residence a matter publicly, adding a pivotal womanlike executive’s voice to a association leadership’s response. While Danielle Brown, Google’s clamp boss of diversity, firmness and governance expelled a statement progressing this week, observant that “like many of you, we found that it modernized improper assumptions about gender,” Wojcicki’s was most some-more personal.

After meditative about all these issues, she wrote, “I looked during my daughter and answered simply. ‘No, it’s not true.’ ”

The author of a memo, that was initial circulated on an inner network and afterwards went viral online, wrote that “differences in distributions of traits between group and women competence in partial explain because we don’t have 50 percent illustration of women in tech and leadership.” He wrote that “I value farrago and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t validate regulating stereotypes” and pronounced that “I’m not observant that all group differ from women in a following ways or that these differences are ‘just.’ ”

But he also pronounced that women, on average, have some-more extroversion “expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness” and “higher agreeableness,” that “leads to women generally carrying a harder time negotiating salary, seeking for raises, vocalization adult and leading.” He wrote that women on normal have “higher anxiety, reduce highlight tolerance,” and “look for some-more work-life balance.” In a memo late Monday to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that “portions of a memo violate a Code of Conduct and cranky a line by advancing damaging gender stereotypes in a workplace.”

Wojcicki’s letter in Fortune, that placed her at No. 16 on a final Most Powerful Women ranking (Wojcicki was aGoogle’s 16th employee), is not a initial time a longtime Googler has created a rarely personal letter or op-ed to residence issues associated to women in care or record roles. In 2014, she wrote a commentary in a Wall Street Journal patrician “Paid Maternity Leave is Good for Business,” about being a initial Google worker to take a maternity leave and how she was about to go on her fifth one. While she summarized how paid leave improves capability and morale, she also shared how “joining a startup profound with my initial child was risky, though Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] positive me I’d have their support.”

Earlier this year, she wrote an op-ed for Vanity Fair patrician “How to mangle adult a Silicon Valley boys’ club,” in that she frankly assessed what a tech attention indispensable to do to allege some-more women. One key, she wrote, was some-more mentorship, pity a story about how she felt slighted after not being invited to a vital discussion and was means to call on a mythological late Silicon Valley manager Bill Campbell for help.

“I started to question whether I even belonged during a conference,” she wrote. “But rather than let it go, we incited to Bill, someone we knew had a lot of change and could assistance repair a situation. He immediately famous we had a legitimate place during a eventuality and within a day he worked his magic.”

Read also:

This competence assistance explain because corporate play are still an aged boy’s club

What Silicon Valley needs is some out-of-date HR know-how

Like On Leadership? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and allow to a podcast on iTunes.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com