Microsoft CEO apologizes after remarks on women and raises

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Satya Nadella took considerable criticism after his remarks at an event for women in the tech industry. He apologized shortly after the event.

By Beki Winchel | Posted: October 10, 2014

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella apologized Thursday after coming under fire for remarks he made at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

In response to a question from Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and a Microsoft director, about pay for women, Nadella said:

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. And that I think might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for raises have. Because that’s good karma, that’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 long term, efficiency things catch up.

Klawe said she disagreed with Nadella and then said, regarding women asking for raises, “If you don’t ask, you generally don’t get.”

The full keynote, including Nadella’s interview, can be seen here.

Even after he tweeted a clarification of his remarks, Nadella was lambasted in blog posts and on Twitter:

Nadella sent his swift apology to Microsoft employees in an email, which was then posted on Microsoft’s blog. In it, he said:

Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.

 

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