The said gentleman, Satya Nadella was being interviewed during the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference by Maria Klawe, a computer scientist, President of Harvey Mudd College, and member of Microsoft's board of directors.
When asked what advice he would give to women uncomfortable with asking their bosses for a raise, his reply was pretty confounding.
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” he said. "That might be one of the initial 'super powers,' that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have," he told Klawe.
"It’s good karma. It will come back.”
Nadella took back his words soon afterwards via Twitter and an internal memo to his employees.
Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias #GHC14— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 9, 2014
Inarticulate doesn’t cut it.
The Microsoft CEO just gave an insight to the mindset that is responsible for the rampant discrimination and lack of diversity in the tech world, and one which is very vehemently displayed in the Silicon Valley.
Earlier this year, Google admitted to its lack of diversity and promised to do something about it. They data that showed 70 percent of their workforce is male.
A big reason is the low percentage of female computer science students at universities and societal pressures do not help either.
According to Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating gender gap in science and technology, “In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science.”
The White House figures are equally frightening. In 2009, only 24 percent of scientists and engineers were women.
Venture Beat’s Christina Farr found just that during a research.
“I tweeted to female entrepreneurs and developers to ask whether they enjoy the “women in tech” conversation or avoid it, and why. I hit a nerve and received dozens of responses,” she wrote.
“We don’t want to be seen as crazy bitches moaning about the same issue,” explained Jenn Wei, a investor at Blumberg Capital, when asked by Farr about the lack of women in venture capital.
Entrepreneur turned academic, and Foreign Policy “Top 100 Global Thinker” Vivek Wadwha was bold enough to call out the tech industry in his article titled, “Silicon Valley: You and some of your VCs have a gender problem.”
He recounted Shaherose Charania, of Women 2.0 talking about how her group members report examples of Venture Capitalists and angel investors interrupting pitches to ask questions and make comments like:
- When are you planning to have kids?
- Why isn’t “he” the CEO?
- So you moved here because your husband lives here? What if he has to move for work one day? Will you go with him?
- You should cut your hair, dress a bit more manly if you want to be CEO.
It is an unfortunate fact that even in 2014, most of the women of Silicon Valley have to fight gender discrimination and discouragement every step of the way.