Melissa Aquino, a mother of five who’s been married for 26 years and also happens to be a chemical engineer who serves as a corporate vice president for a Fortune 200 company, saw the headlines this week sparked by a now-former Google engineer’s 10-page internal memo critiquing the Silicon Valley-based company’s diversity initiatives. As a female who battled discrimination in her education and early career, she knew the memo might upset her. She waited for a quiet moment alone to read and digest the entire document. What happened next was what you’ll read below.
“I decided to pen this,” Aquino said about a Facebook post she wrote Tuesday and gave Patch permission to share, “because women in science and engineering fields need to start telling their stories, showing the real challenges they face in pursuing male-dominated fields.”
While the memo written by male software engineer James Damore was directed at the tech industry — he said biological differences between men and women are significant and may explain some of the gender gaps at Google — Aquino said there are many parallels to her experiences and those of women in all fields of engineering and beyond.
Watch: Google Memo Gets Author Fired And Sparks Tech Diversity Talks
Here’s the response she was inspired to write:
Dear Mr. Google Manifesto,
I don’t know your name nor do I care to. But I do want you to know something about me. I was born in 1971, when women contributed 4% to household income. In 2018, in dual earning homes – it will be 51%.
At 10 – I was told I was average at math by my male 4th grade teacher. I was not allowed to try and solve the cool new Rubik’s cubes. Those were reserved for the advanced kids – mostly boys.
At 12 – I took a standardized state test and my math skills came in as “advanced.” I was put in honors math to start junior high.
At 14 – I signed up for my first…