Diane Greene promises to protect women at Google

The Google exec used International Women's Day to raise the issue of workplace sexism

In the wake of allegations of systemic sexism at Uber by a former employee, Google's Diane Greene has promised to protect women working for her if they ever experience sexual harassment in the workplace.

Speaking at a Google Cloud Conference on Wednesday, which also happened to be International Women's Day, Greene interrupted her speech to highlight a red ribbon she was wearing in support of the cause, according to a report by Business Insider.

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"I want to pause. I'm wearing my red ribbon. I want to acknowledge that it's International Women's Day today," said Greene, followed by a lengthy applause.

The Google board member and former VMware CEO then addressed the issue of sexism in the workplace, highlighting her own experience of a lack of female representation in tech.

"With this industry, I've been incredibly fortunate, but it was sort of an industry where I was lucky and I chose to be kind of oblivious to what was going on," said Greene. "And now we're in an environment where women are having a huge impact and adding a lot of value to our industry, and women are celebrated if they raise their hand and say, 'Hey, you are missing my value. You're not recognising what I'm doing.'"

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"We strive at Google Cloud to have an environment where no one needs to raise their hand, but no matter what, it's completely safe to do that. I really look forward to the day when this audience is 50% women. It's more fun to have diversity," added Greene.

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Her comments come at a time when Silicon Valley is still recovering from recent revelations of sexism and workplace toxicity. In a blog post published in February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler alleged that she was sexually harassed by a senior manager and that HR refused to pursue the matter because of his strong performance record.

Just a few weeks later, Amit Singhal stepped down from his engineering role at Uber after it was discovered he had been accused of sexual harassment at his former position at Google, which he failed to disclose when he joined Uber.

Despite attempts to reform the culture, female representation in Silicon Valley is actually falling, with more than 70% of recently surveyed startups admitting they did not have a single female board member or executive.

Greene's promise will go some way to alleviate the damage caused over the past month, but the industry still has a long way to go to make it an inclusive place for women.

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