Issues regarding representation and treatment of marginalised communities took the centre stage at Google’s parent company Alphabet’s annual shareholders meeting, the media reported.
Even Google employees themselves stepped up on Wednesday to challenge management on diversity issues — a rarity for a company’s rank and file in such a public and formal corporate setting, CNET reported.
Google last year was rocked by the now infamous “Damore memo”, which argued that the gender gap in the tech industry is due mainly to “biological” differences between men and women, not because of sexism.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai eventually fired the author of the 3,000-word memo James Damore – a move that attracted criticism from conservatives.
On Wednesday, Irene Knapp, a Google engineer, teamed up with Zevin Asset Management to present a proposal that advocated tying executive pay with improvement in diversity metrics at Alphabet.
“The lack of clear communicated policies and actions to advance diversity and inclusion with concrete accountability and leadership from senior executives has left many of us feeling unsafe and unable to do our work,” Knapp was quoted as saying.
Like many other tech giants, Alphabet has been criticised for not having enough diversity on its board, said the CNET report, adding that of the 11 board members at the company, only two are women.