Women can do it: the "science" doesn't matter

Much has already been said about the issue surrounding James Damore's controversial memo on Google's Ideological Echo Chamber. This was blown bigger by Google choosing to fire Damore, to which Damore laments as being caused by holding an unacceptable opinion.

In the memo Damore explains that his arguments are based on scientific studies, and that ignoring the science would hurt Google more than it will benefit it.

My take on the issue is that that doesn't matter. At all.

In World War 2 millions of men from the US and the UK were drafted to go to war, in both the Pacific and European fronts. Men who would normally be manning factories and foundries were trained and armed instead, but the war machine still needed man power to smelt, mold, rivet, assemble, and paint thousands of guns, tanks, ships, and aircraft needed by their men thousands of miles away.

Women assembling aircraft. From Pinterest

Millions of women were hired to take their place, even only a few months after Pearl Harbor.

As early as February 1942, women were responding to local calls to enter the workforce.

A lot of these women ended up as mechanics as well, the most famous being (then princess) Queen Elizabeth II. It is her experience driving trucks since the early 1940s that she used to annoy the Saudi King once -- to drive the pointlessness of Saudi's ban for women driving.

Queen Elizabeth II as a truck mechanic in WW2

In his memo Damore ends up committing one of the most common logical fallacy traps: he believes that the correlation between women's career choices and how they work is caused by their biological differences. But we've seen that war or circumstance would mean their choices could be much, much different, and the work output would still be the same.

I think it is the availability of these choices that Google was striving to change -- not the science, for whatever that's worth.

Jon Limjap

Microsoft MVP for Visual Studio and Development Technologies |Technical Advisor at PageUp | Philippine .NET User Group Lead | Photographer | Scale Modeler

Manila, Philippines