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YouTube CEO: Discrimination Is Pervasive in Tech

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has spoken out on the controversial anti-diversity manifesto that circulated within Google last week, and resulted in the firing of the manifesto’s author, sharing in a Fortune guest column that she has experienced similar discriminatory attitudes throughout her career.

“I’ve had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned,” Wojcicki wrote. “I’ve been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues.”

Wojcicki’s statements came as a response to a document that criticized Google for anti-discriminatory hiring practices, and alleged that there were fewer women in engineering roles because of biological traits that led to women having “a stronger interest in people rather than things” and “higher anxiety” as well as “lower stress tolerance.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai argued in a memo sent to staff Monday night that the manifesto had crossed a line, and violated the company’s code of conduct. Wojcicki defended this stance in her column, arguing that this was not a free speech issue. “Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments,” she wrote.

Wojcicki went on to argue that nobody in their right mind would defend the memo if it had singled out a group by race or sexual orientation to argue that biological traits made them less qualified for engineering positions. “The language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive,” she wrote.

 

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