8 Ellen Pao Quotes On Overcoming Obstacles That Make Clear How She'll Deal With Her Latest Bout Of Online Harassment
Once again, a woman in tech has fallen victim to harassment and discrimination. The interim CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, has been targeted with threats after Reddit announced it would (finally!) dole out harsh punishment toward offensive users. Ironically, the harassment now faced by Pao was sparked by Reddit's new policy of intolerance for that kind of behavior.
Back in May, Reddit released a statement in May redefining its harassment policies, citing the many complaints some users have with vulgarity present on the site.
We are unhappy with harassing behavior on reddit; we have survey data that show our users are, too. So we’ve improved our practices to better curb harassment of individuals on reddit.
And possibly in anticipation of the complaints and accusations of free speech violations, the Reddit team added:
We value privacy, freedom of expression, open discussion, and humanity, and we want to make sure that we uphold these principles for all kinds of people. We didn’t announce them because we’d accomplished them, rather because we are striving for them.
The anger from the online community intensified when Reddit removed five subreddits that did not comply with the new rules. The banned subreddits were r/hamplanethatred, r/transfags, r/neofag, r/s__tn____rssay, and r/fatpeoplehate, which has more than 5,000 subscribers, according to Salon.
Now some trolls have been sending Pao death threats and actually comparing her to Hitler. A petition to remove her from Reddit has been circulating, along with some racist subreddits. However, Pao has faced a variety of challenges as a woman in Silicon Valley, and hasn't been shy about speaking up about it. Here are some of her quotes that suggest how she'll be dealing with this latest development.
On Why She Sued Kleiner Perkins
It’s been a long journey, and I’ve tried many times to bring Kleiner Perkins to the right path. I think there should be equal opportunities for women and men to be venture capitalists. I wanted to be a VC but I wasn’t able to do so in that environment. And I think it’s important as a person who wanted to be a venture capitalist but wasn’t able for people who wanted to be a venture capitalist to make those opportunities available in the future. And I wanted to make sure my story was told.
Pao faced a plethora of sexist behaviors at the firm. Her coworkers commented on her "bitchiness" and her pointed elbows. She made this statement to explain why she sued, according to Business Insider.
On The Verdict
If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.
According to CNN Money, Pao made this statement after the verdict of her suit. Although she lost, she did shine a light on the gender discrimination in Silicon Valley writ large.
On Global Discrimination
(This experience has) moved into a broader discussion about people who are struggling to be treated fairly in their jobs, and not just in the U.S. I’ve also heard from people in Bangladesh, from Singapore, from China, from Taiwan, from Korea, from Tanzania. It’s something that’s global. I think it’s resonated with a lot of people, and it’s become a much bigger thing.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pao pointed out that workplace sexism is not only an American problem. She's said that since the trial began, she has received a tidal wave of messages from other women who've shared their own stories of discrimination.
On Being Relatable
I think everybody has their own perspective, and some people can’t relate to me, and that’s okay. I think there’s a set of people who are seeing my story as being part of a much bigger story, and being part of their experiences. For me that’s very rewarding. It’s not going to be something for everybody, and that’s fine.
Along with all the people who understand what Pao went through, some do not, and she acknowledged that to The Wall Street Journal. However, she has made her mark on many men and women.
On Becoming A Symbol
I didn’t plan on becoming a symbol. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but I became a symbol for different things.
Pao made this statement at the Code Conference in Southern California, according to TechCrunch. She also told the audience that she did not regret filing the lawsuit.
Pao tweeted this after her verdict. She also tweeted that day, "Hopefully my case will inspire the venture capital industry to level the playing field for everyone, including women and minorities."
On Shared Experiences
It’s hard for people to understand other people, but it’s easy if you have shared experiences, and that’s where a lot of these complexities of discrimination come from.
Pao proved to The Wall Street Journal how intelligent she is by pointing out the bases for discrimination.
On Her Story
I have told my story. Now it's time for me to get back to my career.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Pao made this statement after the case concluded. She inspires women to tell their own accounts of discrimination and fight a biased system, but she also accepted defeat gracefully and is ready to go back to being a tech prodigy.
Images: Getty Images (7); Flickr/Christopher Michel