Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gives women controversial advice, clarifies his thoughts after being criticised

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gives women controversial advice, clarifies his thoughts after being criticised

Earlier today, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, gave a piece of advice to women which wasn’t very well received. At the ‘Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing’ event, Nadella advised them to not ask for a raise, and instead hope that the “good karma” will favor them in the end.

“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” said Nadella to Maria Klawe, who is president of Harvey Mudd College as well as a member of Microsoft’s board. “That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have,” he added. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

The women in the audience didn’t seem to buy Nadella’s advice, and have expressed their disbelief to Twitter and press. Meanwhile, although Klawe didn’t like Nadella’s two-cents either, she still praised Nadella, and thinks that sometimes you do make mistakes.

“He is an amazing leader and I adore him,” she told Recode’s Kara Swisher. “But he was giving an authentic answer that was not the party line and was just not thinking about it.”

“I think he is wrong about what he thought, but it is not fair to pillory him … people make mistakes.” she added.

Nadella too admitted that he was not able to express his thoughts right. The Microsoft CEO later tweeted to clarify his bit. You can watch the full interview below. 

Nadella also emailed Microsoft employees after the fact, clarifying his remarks during the interview. According to Nadella, he answered the question completely wrong. You can read the entire email below.

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.


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