Google recently made headlines by announcing a new commitment to root out implicit gender bias through increased awareness — but the authors of the following post are wondering whether Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt got the memo. Schmidt is promoting his new bestselling book, “How Google Works,” with an online slide show presentation that has been viewed by more than half a million people — but that Shifra Bronznick and Hillary Leone say is riddled with gender bias and show it, slide by slide.
Bronznick is the founder and president of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP). She has provided strategic counsel to dozens of organizations including Catalyst, Medicare Rights Center, Educational Alliance, National Council for Research on Women, Women Donors Network, AUBURN, Building Movement Project, the Revson Foundation, Women Moving Millions, and American Jewish World Service. The leadership consultant to the White House Project for a decade, she designed its National Women’s Leadership Summits, established its Corporate Council, as well as “Women Rule,” a partnership with Oprah magazine. She teaches strategic leadership at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Leone is AWP’s senior strategist and principal of Cabengo LLC, an award-winning digital strategy and design studio. She has worked with leading cultural and educational institutions and non-profit organizations, including Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Pennsylvania, Storm King Art Center, Georgetown University, Columbia University, New York University, and Contemporary Jewish Museum. Her work has been recognized by the Webby Awards, South by Southwest Interactive, ID Magazine, and others. As senior strategist to AWP since 2005, she has helped craft AWP’s story of social change, from its roots as a national non-profit dedicated to women’s advancement to its evolution as a network of catalysts. Prior to founding Cabengo, Hillary had been an internationally recognized installation and new media artist.
Here Bronznick and Leone offer an idea for Google:
By Shifra Bronznick and Hillary Leone
The slideshow opens with illustrations of Eric and Jonathan – but these aren’t the only men in the deck.
Recently Google made headlines by announcing a new commitment to root out implicit bias through increased awareness. It looks like Chairman Schmidt did not get the memo.
In a Google Ventures video posted last month on YouTube entitled “Unconscious Bias @ Work,” Brian Welle, Google’s director of people analytics, claims that scientists at Google are on the leading edge of change.
“I want to be upfront that researchers and psychologists have been very, very good at demonstrating that there is bias… But there is no incentive whatsoever to show how to get rid of it. Now, we in organizations, of course, are on the other side. It’s like, ‘Okay, we know that it happens, we want to get rid of it.’ So we’re probably the vanguard of what’s going to happen in this space. So if you’ve got ideas on how we can actually combat it, let me know, let each other know.”
OK Google, we have an idea for you: Acknowledge your own bias.
And then get to work. Because achieving gender equity demands the same level of creativity, ingenuity, innovation and accountability that drives Google’s most ambitious projects, from driverless cars to Google Glass.
It also requires championship from the top.