First, it makes marketing easier. Tech companies are under fire right now due to issues like the article I originally replied to discussed, and a more diverse workforce would make it easier for them to withstand such accusations. Also, companies are entrenched in creating products for people like them. Just look at the recent controversy around the iPhone X not recognizing asian women’s faces. A diverse workforce would help avoid future issues like this.
And yes, you’re right in assuming that I would not want the Koch brothers driving social change. But at the same, I would argue that Google is more powerful than them, no matter how much wealth they have. As a company at the epicenter of an increasingly tech-based economy, Google wields significant power. People trying to push for social change must either push against Google since it is such a strong presence in everything, or Google must push with the people. It is impossible for Google to step to the sidelines of social issues at this point — it’s a consequence of getting as big as they have.
And yes, while they do invest in programs that incentivize women to go into computer science, their office still produced the anti-diversity memo that the above article discusses. Being a part of social change means more than throwing money at the issue, it means having to acknowledge issues within the company and confronting them. I’m glad they fired James, it shows Google is trying. But like I suggested in my other highlight, they cannot truly confront their issues without knowing what those issues are — knowledge that would be gained from fields like gender studies and the liberal arts.
So panels like this that only emphasize the biology around people’s bodies and ignore the social theories around them only perpetuate issues clearly evident in powerful companies like Google.