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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Gaffe Fuels Debate On Women In Tech World

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a man smart enough to know better, has created an angry storm in the tech world, which his quick apology has done little to calm. Outraged
13 Oct 2014 09:27
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Gaffe Fuels Debate On Women In Tech World
Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a man smart enough to know better, has created an angry storm in the tech world, which his quick apology has done little to calm.

Outraged reactions

Reactions have ranged from outright anger at Nadella’s apparent 19th century outlook to pop psychoanalysis about how his “inner Indian” finally surfaced, that too at a conference to celebrate women’s contributions in the digital  world.

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, the largest grassroots organisation in the United States, told ET that what Nadella “has just done is to completely demolish the credibility of Microsoft” to increase the number of women in its workforce. “What he is saying is, “Little ladies, just hang back and let us, the men, take care of you.”

Nadella was the keynote speaker at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the largest annual gathering of women technologists.

His audience expected him to be aware of the gender gap in pay and show the forward path.

Instead, Nadella gave a convoluted and confused answer to a direct question on how young women should go about asking for a pay raise because it is a well-established fact that unlike men, women don’t demand salary raises as often.

What Nadella said

He said that not asking for a raise can be “one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have.

“Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the longterm efficiency, things catch up.”

Remarks Unlikely to be Forgotten

In Nadella’s Microsoft, women are, therefore, advised to bide their time and wait patiently to be recognised because “good karma” will finally prevail. Unsurprisingly, his words crashed like a tidal wave on the combined consciousness of WWF – the women’s work force. The blogosphere lit up with instant reaction with some of the most biting commentary coming from card-carrying members of his own gender. The message: get with the programme.

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 




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