In the last decade, there has been a slew of books and research studies trying to explain why women still make less than men in the workplace. The CEO of Microsoft attempted to answer that question while speaking at an event in Phoenix last week. The event was meant for women in the tech industry, and a question and answer portion of Satya Nadella's presentation was moderated by Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College.
Nadella was asked how women should approach asking for a raise or promotion when they are uncomfortable or feel awkward for doing so. He replied that women “should have faith in the system…Because that's good karma. It will come back.” Essentially, in Nadella's brief answer, he advised women of the tech industry to stay quiet and wait until it was their turn to get a piece of the pie.
At that point, Maria Klawe, the moderator, interjected. Klawe, who is also a member of Microsoft's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing's board, politely commented “I have to disagree with you there” and went on to advise the women in the audience to essentially do their research on their worth, be prepared with examples of their work, and ask what you feel you deserve.
After the seminar, Klawe commented that she had been promoting the hiring of women at Microsoft since she began on the board, and now wants to speak about pay raises for women. According to the employee rating website Glassdoor, a male Microsoft soft developer makes on average about $137,000 a year while the same position for a woman makes approximately $129,000.
Nadella has since apologized for last week's flub saying he was “inarticulate” in answering the question, and of course, women should ask for raises, which is the absolute opposite of his original position. But hey, that's karma… “it will come back.”
You can watch the video of his gaffe here.
Source: Reuters & Forbes