dunce-capThere he is, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, at a conference for women in computing—a meeting named in honor of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, so consequential a pioneer in the field of computing that she is known as “Amazing Grace.”

During their on-stage conversation, computer scientist Maria Klawe asks Nadella, “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable . . . with asking for a raise?”

The answer, according to Mashable, is this:

“It’s not really about asking for the raise,” Nadella told the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, held in Phoenix, “but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

He added that “women who don’t ask for raises” have a “superpower . . . because that’s good karma, that’ll come back . . .  that’s the kind of person that I want to trust.”

We were baffled . . . bewildered . . . well, actually flabbergasted . . . at this corporate leader’s otherworldly naiveté. After all, hadn’t The New York Times just documented “the deep-set cultural biases and an insidious frat-house attitude that pervades the tech business”? Indeed, hadn’t the newspaper’s editorial board published a story—just five days before Nadella’s comment—on the tech industry’s need to reform its interviewing processes and training programs to recognize the abilities of candidates who aren’t white or Asian males?

Now, as to the infuriating suggestion that women employees wait patiently, sure that they will see their good work recognized and rewarded, we need deploy only two words to refute that clueless claim: Lilly Ledbetter.

Read more: Nadella’s initial, pro-karma advice, then, after the well-earned firestorm of protest, Nadella’s wised-up memo to Microsoft employees

Closely related: The story of Lilly Ledbetter (or, Bad Karma in the Workplace)

                        Grace and Grit: How Lilly Ledbetter Fought Back 

 

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