Author: Renee Adams and Vanitha Ragunathan

The Google Diversity Memo: It’s still stereotyping—just not the way you think it is!

As academics who have collectively done a lot of research on gender, we have been following the discussion about James Damore’s memo about diversity at Google and the subsequent arguments for and against with a lot of interest. First of all, we have to applaud James Damore for actually reading some of the science on this topic. Second, like Scott Alexander and other scientists who have spoken out on the topic, we agree with most of what he says about the science. A lot of data and many peer-reviewed articles show that women in the population are indeed more people-oriented than men. For example, the graph below taken from Adams (2016) shows gender gaps in values (defined as average male values minus average female values) in the European Social Survey (ESS). In this data, as well as in the World Value Survey, women are on average more benevolent and universalism-oriented, traits associated with being people-oriented, than men. While some of the gender gaps might be small, we still have a very poor understanding how small differences …