It’s been all over the news. The Google engineer who got so fed up after a diversity training session that he published an extensive manifesto. Two of his conclusions, amongst many, are that women on average do not have as high IQ are more prone to anxiety than men, and can’t handle certain jobs.
My first response was what you’d expect from the founder of The Women’s Code, an organization dedicated to bringing Balanced Leadership to companies and teams. I was furious. Another white guy….
Then I sat down and read the manifesto carefully, which I encourage you to do as well.
I believe that something of value can be found in everything. In this instance, I will say the Google guy went nuts—but he has a point.
Reading the manifesto, I pictured a brilliant man with a masters degree from Harvard sitting through training that addressed unconscious and conscious bias, diversity, and inclusion—and becoming mad as hell about it. It seems what he heard was: most men are doing it wrong.
So he sat down and did what smart guys do. He stated his case in the form of a manifesto (yup, it feels like a college paper) against diversity, inclusion, and sexism all while acknowledging that they do exist. It feels like his major problem is that those words are being used to stop someone like him from doing what he does.
He doesn’t want to be told how to act or that he has any advantage over others. The manifesto oozes with the sentiment that he wants to get rid of these problems by making a point.
I Had to Take a Deep Breath
Calm was needed to stop the urge to slap this privileged little so-and-so…
And then I thought about it. His paper is not bad. He presented some food for thought. He comes to the wrong conclusions because he only searches for facts that support his claim. He even acknowledges as much. Fair enough. He intended to provoke us.
Let’s look at the facts.
We all have opinions that we deeply and truly believe. A person’s culture, education, and ten thousand other factors shape what we believe in. We move in circles that agree with us, we watch the type of news that interests us, we like people who are like us. Why do you think he is giving interviews only to the right and conservative outlets?
Put yourself in his shoes.
What if you were in an environment that is contradictory to your beliefs, given information you do not agree with, and told that what you are doing is wrong, no matter whether you do it consciously or not?
I’d bet you would get pretty angry. Manifesto man James Damore certainly did.
Our culture breeds these guys. White men created a culture that perpetuates white man thinking. He is simply the result of his environment. Imagine the author as a guy who is relatively young, probably pretty geeky, with extraordinary intelligence who knows how to research and understands complex problems. He is most likely been told his entire life how smart and extraordinary he is. That’s what got him into Harvard and (I assume) it attracted the attention of Google as well. It’s white elitism all the way. He is all of that. He is used to it. He believes he deserves special treatment.
And then tell him he’s not doing enough, not doing it right, that he has to divert his attention to something beneath him, like supporting others who are different so they can rise to his level.
I think that’s what happened in this case.
He wasn’t having any of it. He aimed to warn Google that discrimination against the brilliance of men like him has to stop. Victimization of white men must stop. That gender diversity, inclusion, and all that good stuff shouldn’t affect what make men like him good and valuable. And that men like him are entitled to their competitiveness, their narcissism, and their elitism because they contribute a disproportionate value to the company.
This brilliant man does not want to feel held back because of some low-level cause, like a woman buckling under the pressure of finding a way to conceive, carry, and raise children while having a career.
Still, He Has a Point
Since I founded The Women’s Code, I’ve been searching for ways to bring balanced leadership into organizations. I am woman who catapulted into the top 10% by selling my business to Bill Gates. I put myself in service of women because I know firsthand as a single mom immigrant how hard it is to rise when you do not come from privilege or are not part of an established family with money and connections.
The problem we have with bias and inequality and lack of diversity stems from the people who built and own the systems. Because those people are mostly white men. They understand the numbers that show diversity is good for teams, they just don’t believe those numbers tell the truth. Just another example of blazing ignorance in the workplace.
True Colors on Display
In the age of Trump, people who feel they are entitled to this privilege are coming forward and telling us what they really think.
This is real. The facade of let’s hold hands and we are all the same has been pulled away. He says it in his manifesto—and he is right—we are not the same.
Equality, diversity, and inclusion have never meant that we, in my case women want the exact same.
We want what is equal.
We have a lot of work to do because this is far from over. It means our programs need to better address men and their strongly-held beliefs. Make context more relatable to men and less like calling them out for bad behavior. Without buy-in from men, equality will never happen.
Equality cannot come at the expense of men because that breeds contempt, as Google guy aptly demonstrates. Equality must include men and programs need to be developed that manage their fears and objections. This is the path to balance. This is the path of The Women’s Code.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.