Google employees plan to walk out, another hit on Silicon Valley's glaring imbalance towards women

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 01 November 2018, 04:57 PM
Google employees plan to walk out, another hit on Silicon Valley's glaring imbalance towards women's treatment (Representational image: PTI)
Google employees plan to walk out, another hit on Silicon Valley's glaring imbalance towards women's treatment (Representational image: PTI)

The #MeToo wave, that started as a Twitter hashtag in 2017 triggered a wave of revolt across the globe, has not spared the silicon valley as well. Hundreds of Google engineers and other workers are expected to depart from their jobs Thursday morning to protest against the internet company’s lenient treatment towards executives accused of sexual misconduct.

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The latest outrage of backlash against men’s exploitation of female subordinates in many business, entertainment and political fraternities.

Needless to mention, the much famous Silicon Valley, depicts another gruesome reality of the ‘gender discrimination’ prevailing worldwide, with majority of the posts being male-dominated. The male dominance of the technology industry workforce is a glaring imbalance that fosters unsavory behaviour akin to a college fraternity house.

The Google protest billed "Walkout For Real Change," is unfolding a week after a New York Times story detailed allegations of sexual misconduct about the creator of its Android software, Andy Rubin.

The report highlighted that Rubin received a USD 90 million severance package in 2014 despite the fact that Google concluded the sexual misconduct allegations against the man were credible. Further adding to the shocking revelations, Rubin derided the Times story article as inaccurate and denied allegations against him in a tweet.

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The same story also disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct of other executives, including Richard DeVaul, a director at the same Google-affiliated lab that created far-flung projects such as self-driving cars and internet-beaming balloons.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologised for the company's "past actions" in an email sent to employees Tuesday. 

"I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel," Pichai wrote. 

"I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society. and, yes, here at Google, too."

However, the mail had no mention of the reported incidents involving Rubin, DeVaul or anyone else.

In an email last week, Pichai and Eileen Naughton, Google's executive in charge of personnel issues, sought to reassure workers that the company had cracked down on sexual misconduct since Rubin's departure four years ago.

Among other things, Pichai and Naughton disclosed that Google had fired 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, for "sexual harassment" in recent years without giving any of them severance packages.

But Thursday's workout could signal that a significant number of the 94,000 employees working for Google and its corporate parent Alphabet Inc. remained unconvinced the company is doing enough to adhere to Alphabet's own edict urging all employees to "do the right thing ." 

A Silicon Valley congresswoman tweeted her support of the Google walkout using the "MeToo" hashtag that has become a battle cry for women fighting sexual misconduct. 

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"Why do they think it's OK to reward perpetrators & further violate victims?" asked Rep. Jackie Speier, who represents an affluent district where many of Google's employees live.

First Published: Thursday, November 01, 2018 04:53 PM

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