Sergey Brin may need to Google Gloria Steinem.
The New York Times reports that in a staff meeting last year, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page “struggled to answer a question about who their female role models were.” Brin reportedly “tried to recall the name of a woman he had recently met at a company event who had impressed him,” and when he couldn’t remember her name, Page helpfully reminded him that it was Gloria Steinem.
Steinem is, of course, the journalist and activist who has been leading the U.S. feminist movement since the late 1960s. She was a columnist for New York magazine, cofounded Ms. magazine, produced multiple documentaries, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If only there was some way that Brin could find all this information out on the internet. (As for Page, he had an answer ready: Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer of Google and Alphabet.)
The founder’s struggle to name a woman who has impressed him, let alone influenced him, appears to underscore Google’s corporate culture that led to Google allowing male executives, including Android founder Andy Rubin, to resign with multimillion-dollar exit packages, instead of facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
In protest of that culture, an estimated 1,500 Google employees around the globe walked out of work today.