Women: Don’t ask for a Raise, Just Trust in Good Karma!

by Mariana Garces

One of the biggest problems of the gender pay gap is myths and attitudes that uphold the broken system. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is just another male in the corporate world contributing to this problem by telling women at a conference to just “trust the system.” Earlier this month, at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix, Nadella found himself quickly putting his foot in his mouth. 

The question posed from the audience was, “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable … with asking for a raise?” (a very common issue with working women in all different fields, as NPR recently reported) and Nadella’s response was, “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.” [Emphasis mine]


Have faith in the system? Thanks but no thanks for the advice, Nadella. We’re talking about a system that still pays women 78% of what a man makes for the same job

The full video of Nadella’s speech can be found here, but here’s the full comment he made that’s now coming under criticism, and for good reason:

“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.”

Luckily, once Twitter heard about it, many tweeted at Nadella to hold him accountable and follow through. 

To Nadella’s credit, he has sinced issued an apology to fellow Microsoft employees since making the inarticulate remark, saying: 
“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.”
The Maria he referenced was discussion moderator Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and member of Microsoft’s board of directors. Klawe chimed in during the discussion to tell the audience a personal story when she learned she was making $50,000 a year less than her male counterparts at Princeton. Klawe’s advice was salient and counteracts Nadella’s answer perfectly, saying “Do your homework… Don’t be stupid like I was.”
Images via Cnn.com, Reactiongifs.com, Twitter. 

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