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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says women don’t need to ask for raises

Foot, meet mouth. Hi mouth, pleased to make your acquaintance.


EJ Dickson


Hey, ladies: Sexism is over! Know why? ‘Cause Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says so! Nadella took the opportunity last Thursday to display his authority on sexism in the tech industry by telling an interviewer that women in the tech industry shouldn’t ask for raises from their bosses.

What’s that, you say? The tech industry skews male, and has a storied history of sexism, so it’s probably not a great idea for a male CEO to tell women not to demand better treatment and compensation from their superiors? Well, Satya Nadella disagrees, as evidenced by the statement he made at a Phoenix panel last Thursday, when interviewer Maria Klawe asked him what advice he would give to women uncomfortable with asking their bosses for a raise:

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” he answered. Not asking for raise, he added, is “good karma” that would help a boss realize that the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility.

The event Nadella was speaking at, by the way, was a panel for women in computing. Way to know your audience.

Unsurprisingly, women in the tech industry weren’t too pleased. The backlash on Twitter was swift and fierce:

Satya Nadella just told women not to ask for raises and “have faith in the system.” WHAT. THE. HECK.

— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) October 9, 2014

Oh lord. On the evening that Satya Nadella tells women they should rely on “karma” rather than asking for pay rise…

— Katherine Rushton (@kerushton) October 10, 2014

Obvious Q: Did Satya Nadella ever ask for a raise for himself or leave it up to “good karma”?

— Dan Berman (@DHBerman) October 10, 2014

A few hours later, Nadella backtracked on Twitter:

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

OK, fair enough, Nadella. We’ll take you at your word that you misspoke. But just for the record, ladies: If you don’t feel like you’re being fairly compensated, follow the advice of Klawe. If you want a raise, do your research and practice with trusted friends or colleagues before asking for one. Now that’s “good karma.”

H/T ReadWrite | Photo by Bhupinder Nayyar/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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