Software Development
Women in tech

Philly tech women set that controversial Google manifesto ablaze

In a Medium post titled “The most tired argument of all” Lauren Hallden does a quick takedown. Plus, more local reactions.

Lauren Hallden. (Photo by Jason Sherman)’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The August 2017 topic is women in tech.

We know Stitch product design lead Lauren Hallden from her zany side projects. We’ve seen her present her company’s flagship product, Singer. We also know her to be a persistent advocate for gender equality.

And today, we woke up to read her lightning-fast, hot-fire takedown of a doc written by former Google developer James Damore. Damore was laid off Monday after CEO Sundar Pichai found some of his comments to be in violation of the company’s Code of Conduct, particularly the implications that “biological differences” explain the gender gap in tech.

But Hallden wasn’t having none of that.

Definitely read the full post, but here’s a quick excerpt:

So the Googler is relying on ancient stereotypes and “evolutionary psychology,” or the idea that natural selection is responsible for our behavioral traits. And I am not a psychologist or a biologist, but let me just say this: I am instantly skeptical of the validity of someone’s argument when it’s based in evo psych. It’s fun to point to the cavemen and claim “men act like this because we came from that,” sure, but you can’t test it. There’s no way to validate it. It’s a series of seductive yet unverifiable hypotheses made by people who grew up in a culture, that support stereotypes found within that culture. It’s all a little…facile. Convenient.

Read the full post

Hallden wasn’t the only Philly tech woman calling BS on the doc. Chariot Solutions’ Tracey Welson-Rossman told the Inquirer she was “really angry” and wanted to speak to a PR person before responding.

Textizen founder Michelle Lee, a former Googler herself, also took to Twitter to speak out about her experience at the Mountain View tech giant, including a direct call to action to the company’s leadership.

UX designer and Girl Develop It Philly volunteer Meghan Kelly also dropped some early shade:

Penn’s Laurie Actman gave Damore’s firing the thumbs up:

And on that note, a quick reminder: August is Women in Tech month on our Editorial Calendar and we want to hear from you. What kind of reporting would you like to see? Is there something brewing inside you that you’d like to share in a guest post? Tell us here.

People: Lauren Hallden
Projects: Women in Tech Month 2017

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