Google wants to show that it’s taking the issue of diversity seriously.
Speaking at a coding competition, CEO Sundar Pichai addressed teams of teen girls, telling them that there “is a place for you at Google.”
“To the girls who dream of being an engineer or an entrepreneur, and who dream of creating amazing things: I want you to know that there’s a place for you in this industry,” said Pichai.
“There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here and we need you.”
His statement comes just days after an “anti-diversity manifesto” a 10-page document in which a former Google software engineer alleged that the company’s gender gap was due to “biological differences” between men and women went viral.
The author of the memo, James Damore, has since been fired.
Pichai was speaking at the 2017 Technovation Challenge, an international coding competition which saw 11,000 female coders from 103 countries gather to create an app that solves a “real-world challenge.”
The age of the participants ranged from 10 to 18.
Four girls from Kazakhstan, who created a safety tracking app for women called QamCare, walked away with the grand prize for the senior division.
“To girls around the world who participated in the Challenge…we believe you should be encouraged and empowered…” said Maggie Johnson, Vice President for Education and University Programs at Google.
“We will never stop working to create an industry and environment in which women feel welcome and can thrive.”