Read Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Apology For That Comment On Women's Pay Raises
If you’re still in an uproar over Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comment on Thursday that women in the tech industry shouldn’t ask for raises, there’s some good news to calm your indignant soul. On Friday, Nadella made a public apology for his controversial remark and seems to have changed his mind on the whole, women-standing-up-for-themselves-in-the-workplace issue. His new mantra: “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”
At some point on Thursday night, Nadella must have realized that standing in front of an audience of women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and saying that women should be patient, "have faith in the system," and wait their turn for a raise wasn't the best idea. After all, why should women have faith in a "system" that has consistently undervalued them — both in how much they're paid and how well they're treated?
The full post reads:
All – Today I was interviewed on stage by Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Conference – I encourage you to watch the video. It was great to spend time with so many women passionate about technology. I was honored to be a part of it and I left the conference energized and inspired.
Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.
I said I was looking forward to the Grace Hopper Conference to learn, and I certainly learned a valuable lesson. I look forward to speaking with you at our monthly Q&A next week and am happy to answer any question you have.
Maybe it was a late-onset bout of common sense that tipped Nadella off to his mistake, which set off an onslaught of criticism from all genders on Twitter. After all, Nadella realized he'd said probably the worst thing you can say to a room full of women in any industry: that they're helpless to the fates of the pay-raise gods, so to speak.
To formally retract his statement, Nadella sent an apologetic email to all Microsoft employees in which he changed his take on pay raises to align more with that of Microsoft director Maria Klawe. After Nadella gave his less-than-inspired non-advice to the underwhelmed audience of women, Klawe interjected to tell the female audience members that she disagreed with Nadella's statements, and urged them to indeed ask for raises and practice their negotiating skills. Now that's more like it.
Despite being sorry about his gaffe, Nadella still urges everyone to watch the video of his interview in his letter, and the CEO reported leaving the conference feeling "energized and inspired."
Thanks, Nadella — your apology was nice, and definitely necessary. But the issue here isn't women's lack of "faith in the system," but rather the lack of faith that industries have in women's ability to perform exceptionally, take charge of their futures, and overturn the archaic stereotypes that plague the workplace.
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