Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a whoopsie on Thursday when he phrased an answer to a question about gender equal pay in a pretty bad way. These things happen, just as when President Obama said that if you’re a small business owner, “You didn’t build that.” Oh poor Obama, what a terrible slip of the tongue. Unfortunately for Nadella, his tongue slipped as well.
“It’s not really about [women] asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”
Well, that came across pretty bad. No, actully, not just bad, freaking terrible. I think what he was trying to say is that the system in which Microsoft handles the pay of their workers is fair, and if you deserve a raise, you’re going to get it, regardless of whether you’re a woman or a man. While this might be true, Nadella certainly highlighted a root problem in not only the tech industry, but also the United States and the world. Nadella has said that it was not his intention to suggest women simply be submissive and succumb to the “take what you are given” attitude, and honestly, I believe him. The thing is, is that what Nadella said, isn’t just about Microsoft. It’s fundamentally about how we see women in our culture.
Thankfully though, women’s pay equality is catching up and according to Business Insider, tech is one of those industries where it already has.
“Women who pursue a career in math, computer, and physical science professions also get paid the same amount as their male counterparts.”
Now, this doesn’t change the fact that the gender inequality gap is still over 10%, but it does say something that the gap much lower and sometimes reversed in newer companies with more contemporary philosophies, such as big tech companies. A lot has been done for gender equality in the 21st century and I think only more will come. I forgive Nadella for his slip up; I think it was a product of his age, and situation, not because he is a misogynistic pig. I know it’s a complex issue and there are a lot of nuances that would take pages to fill, but I think awareness is the first step so, in a way, I’m glad Nadella reignited an conversation that doesn’t get a lot of media attention. Some may think it’s a none issue, but then you realize not a single woman presented at the 2014 Apple Keynote, one of the most progressive companies in the world…yeah, that’s a problem.
TL;DR: Satya Nadella’s unintentionally sexist comment reignites a gender pay equality conversation that will push companies in the right direction.
Any comments? How do you feel about the current salary inequality. Do you think Nadella’s comment may actually instigate positive change or did it just reaffirm that male executives are sexist pigs?