Outrage over Nadella's comments on women's pay

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Oct 11, 2014 00:46 IST

At a time when women IT workers are being urged by their icons to pursue their careers aggressively, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came up with absolutely the opposite advise!

They should not press their employers for a raise, earn their trust and wait for the system to take care of them, which it will, he said at a conference on women on Thursday.

The backlash started the moment he finished that sentence, and lasted all of Thursday, forcing Nadella to backtrack publicly on Twitter and in an internal mail to employees. “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,” he tweeted.

He was “completely wrong”, Nadella said in his mail. “I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work …. (and)… If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

In an email exchange with Silicon Valley guru Vivek Wadhwa, Nadella admitted he “just gave a wrong and terrible answer to the question”. Wadhwa added, “He just blew it.”
The Hyderabad-born CEO, who was in India recently, couldn’t have chosen a more inopportune time to address the issue of gender inequality at workplace, specially in IT.

While Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has advised women to pursue their career goal aggressively in a 2013 book titled, “Lean in”, Towards the end of 2013, Twitter was forced to appoint its first female board member — Marjorie Scardino — after a public spat with its critics, including Wadhwa.

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