Google Cancels Diversity Meeting, What’s Next?

Google Cancels Diversity Meeting, What’s Next?

When the Sundar Pichai, Google’s president, comes back from vacation to handle a manifesto written by James Damore, a google software engineer, something is wrong. Pichai was expected to host an open forum last Thursday, but suddenly cancels it sending the wrong message. The idea of opening a dialogue within a company where viewpoints (all 5200 who commented on the issue) could be resolved in a quick meeting disappeared. Where does Google go next?

Let’s take a step back. The tech field, particularly software engineering, has been a male dominated field. Of 600,000 computer science jobs today, 35% are held by women according to Career Builder Study. Among web developers, women account for 24% of job, but in 2016 28% of open positions were given to women. Today, only 28% of women hold a computer sciences degree versus 72% of men.  While we are making progress, we can’t ignore these facts. 

We can all take three actions to change this state.

 First, inspire our daughters to embrace STEM fields. We see higher numbers of men in nursing and education as well as women leading organizations according to a recent CareerBuilder Study. Today, approximately 45% of women are graduating in math and science fields according to NECS reports. But, women are still lagging in computer tech and info systems fields.

Second, embed women in projects in male-dominated fields within your organizations. Half the USA market is female and companies will benefit from their POV.  Al Gore once said when you add more opinions to the dialogue, you will gain a broader perspective as each sees the facts from a different point of view. But, we must heed action three.

Third, distinguish between one’s public voice and private voice. We have lost this practice in our social collaborative world. Those of us over 40 remember coming to work in the 70’s and keeping our marital status quiet and our children’s pictures off the desk. We focused on business matters at work and personal matters at home. I am happy to say that is not the case today. However, we cannot and should not police everyone’s personal opinions. Organizations need to draw the line when an opinion collides with corporate culture and doctrine. As my father once said, when you work for a company you exchange your services while agreeing to follow company rules. Let’s write rules that are fair at work. And, expect us to all act professionally in our effort to do the best job possible.

–POV by Catherine Upton, CEO, B2B Media Company

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