Different Isn’t a Dirty Word: A Response to the Google Memo

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When I first read the “anti-diversity” memo from a (now former) Google employee, I just tweeted a little and wanted to move on. However, as a female in a STEM field, I’ve been feeling pulled to talk about it.

I was actually ⅔ of the way done writing a defense of the memo (while acknowledging some of the flaws), but it just didn’t feel like the right direction. There are plenty of arguments on both sides – either claiming it is a hugely sexist piece, or people praising him as a martyr for conservative thought – neither of which is really an accurate analysis.

I don’t want to talk about the pros and cons of his memo in this post (although we can certainly discuss it if you’d like). Instead, I want to discuss an aspect of the memo that triggered a lot of outrage: the idea that men and women are different.

It seems like whenever the reality of this difference is acknowledged, people immediately get defensive and deny it. To be fair, I understand why this ignites such a negative response. When we acknowledge that there are differences between the two sexes,  people start making assumptions, and no one wants to have people assume incorrect things about them. People also mistake generalizations about a sex as a truth for every individual (i.e. women don’t know as much about sports as men). But these generalizations are not always accurate for each and every person. So this is absolutely something we should call out.

The other problem, and much bigger one in my eyes, is when people translate differences in characteristics and preferences into differences in intellectual ability or value.

I’ve dealt with these negatives first-hand since I started telling people I wanted to be an engineer in high school.

You can read the rest of my post at FemCatholic.


Comments 2

  • Bravo! Beautifully said, Kate. I am a 53-yr-old female mechanical engineer. When I was in my 20s and 30s I thought I had to be like a man to be valued, and yet I was quite unhappy. When I finally realized God made man AND woman in his image, I decided my feminine side was valuable after all and began embracing it. I am so much happier as a feminine wife, mother, and engineer than a feminist wife, mother, and engineer!

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