Sam Jayne / Axios

Google has spent the past week embroiled in controversy, following the leak of an internal memo that included arguments about how the company's lack of gender parity can be partially explained by biological differences between the sexes. The memo's author was quickly fired for "advancing harmful gender stereotypes in [Google's] workplace."

Story behind the story: The loudest outcries invoked the memo's specific contents and the employment fate of its author. But I suspect that the weightier undercurrent from women who work in Silicon Valley — especially from those with Google on their resumes — is that the incident is a reminder of all the other wrongs and inequities at Google that predate the memo, and of those that they fear will persist.

  • Women still make up only 31% of Google's workforce, 20% of technical jobs, and 25% of leadership roles. Figures for Black and Latino employees are even more dismal.
  • Amit Singhal, a 15-year veteran of Google's search unit, reportedly resigned last year after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassments were found to be "credible." But despite Google's conclusion, it allowed Singhal to pen a farewell letter and depart in a dignified manner (though it may have been in part because the victim declined to go public).
  • In 2015, former Google employee Kelly Ellis claimed to have been sexually harassed while at the company, adding that she was reprimanded by Google HR for reporting the behavior.
  • There's an internal message board titled "Yes, at Google" through which employees share incidents of sexism, racism, bigotry, and misconduct. More than 15,000 employees reportedly have subscribed.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor recently sued Google to obtain more data about its employees' salaries after a routine audit revealed evidence that the company is underpaying women. Google denies the claims.

So backlash should be expected when a white male Googler takes issue with the resources that women and other underrepresented groups have only recently been afforded—and worse, describes them as discriminatory. The real question for Google isn't what it does when a controversial memo becomes public, but what it does when most people aren't looking.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged White House negotiators not to cut a deal with Democrats on new coronavirus stimulus before the election.

Driving the news: McConnell informed Senate Republicans of the move at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, two people familiar with his remarks tell Axios. McConnell's remarks were first reported by the Washington Post.