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Microsoft CEO Says He Answered Completely Wrong When Asked How Women Should Request Raises

Thursday afternoon Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was doing his best to back away from comments he made earlier that day at a conference celebrating in technology, suggesting that women should not ask for raises. Maria Klawe, a member of Microsoft’s board, asked Nadella what advice he would give women who are uncomfortable asking for raises.

Here’s his answer via ReadWrite reports:

” ‘It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,’ Nadella told a confounded (and predominantly female) audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on Thursday.

“Ascribing to mortals the fictional abilities of comic book heroes, Nadella advised that women embrace their innate ‘super powers’ and confidence, and trust a system that pays women 78% as much as men. …

” ‘That might be one of the initial “super powers,” that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have,’ he told the straight-faced Klawe. ‘It’s good karma. It will come back.’ ”

Facing a mountain of criticism, it wasn’t long before Nadella backtracked on his comments tweeting:

The second tweet links to an email Nadella sent to his employees Thursday afternoon:

All – Today I was interviewed on stage by Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Conference – I encourage you to watch the video. It was great to spend time with so many women passionate about technology. I was honored to be a part of it and I left the conference energized and inspired.

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. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. 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.

I said I was looking forward to the Grace Hopper Conference to learn, and I certainly learned a valuable lesson. I look forward to speaking with you at our monthly Q&A next week and am happy to answer any question you have.


Are you satisfied with how he cleaned it up or do you think he’s just trying to save face?

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