The Google engineer who was fired last week over his memo wrote that most women were biologically unsuited to working in tech because they were more focused on “feelings and aesthetics than ideas” and had “a stronger interest in people rather than things.”
Many scientists have said he got the biology wrong. But the job requirements of today’s programmers show he was also wrong about working in tech.
In fact, interpersonal skills like collaboration, communication, empathy and emotional intelligence are essential to the job. The myth that programming is done by loner men who think only rationally and communicate only with their computers harms the tech industry in ways that cut straight to the bottom line.
The loner stereotype can deter talented people from the industry — not just women, but anyone who thinks that sounds like an unattractive job description. It can also result in dysfunctional teams and poorly performing products. Empathy, after all, is crucial to understanding consumers’ desires, and its absence leads to product mistakes.
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