Ellen Pao Talks About Gender Bias In Silicon Valley

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Ellen Pao Talks About Gender Bias In Silicon Valley

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[Ellen Pao Talks About Gender Bias In Silicon Valley]

[Juju Chang:]
One woman is taking on gender discrimination in the workplace. With a $16 million lawsuit, Ellen Pao said she was denied a promotion because she couldn’t break into the boys’ club of the tech world. But her former company says she just didn’t deserve it. Now she’s opening up to our colleague and Yahoo! Global anchor Katie Couric about why her fight to level the playing field isn’t really personal at all.

[Video Clip Plays:]

It’s time to meet the original O.G. Gangsta!

BOYS’ CLUB?

[Voice Over:]
HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ has set the world that feels more like a frat house than a high state’s corporate jungle.

[Video Clip Male Voice:]
Yes, a thousand times, yes. We’re doing it, yeah.

[Voice Over:] Source: LYBIO.net
And it was this culture seemingly glorified on screen that was under examination when 45 year old Ellen Pao filed a $16 million gender discrimination suit against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that has backed Google, Twitter and Amazon.

[Ellen Pao:]
We’ve got people who are used to not following rules and they don’t know where the boundaries for behavior are. And it works for them in one aspect of their carriers.

“… sexually harassing actions…”
“…pressure plaintiff to have a sexual relationship…”

[Voice Over:]
The lawsuit claimed among other allegations that there were unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, retaliation against thereafter ending in an affair with a married co-worker and uncomfortable conversations about pornography.

[Katie Couric:]
Do you think the frame wheeling write the rules as you go along kind of disruptive culture of a lot of tech firms that; while they may unleash creativity, do you think that environment can conversely lead to bad behavior in the workplace?

[Ellen Pao:]
You know they take risk, and they build product, and people like it and they get rewarded for it, so you know, it’s natural for them to bring it into other areas, as well.

[Voice Over:]
But the company claims, it wasn’t at the boys club that got Pao fired, but poor performance, a sense of entitlement and not being a team player. Pao disagrees and claims she didn’t make senior partner because she is a woman.

[Ellen Pao:]
You know the woman is assumed to be, assistant or the junior person. It’s these little things that add up. They call it the death by a thousand cuts. You’re just constantly trying to get this equal playing field, but being taken out of it step by step.

[Voice Over:]
She says she was often left out of social engagements which brought her male colleagues closer because, as Pao alleges one colleague said, “women kill the buzz.”

[Katie Couric:]
Let’s talk about those – sort of off-hours social activities, like dinners, or ski trips, or golf outings. Is that where a lot of the business is actually done where a lot of the relationships are actually built and established? And how does that affect people who are may be excluded from those activities?

[Ellen Pao:] Source: LYBIO.net
You’re forming closer relationships. You’re having discussions about business in these different events and you may be actually resolving problems or getting somebody to say, okay I want to do this transaction, or I want to have this project move forward.

[Voice Over:]
Her trial played out like a real life soap opera set in Silicon Valley. The details are from marriage to Wall Street executive, Buddy Fletcher, were put under a microscope. He sued the Board of The Dakota, Tony New York City apartment building where John Lennon once lived for racial discrimination. After it didn’t approve the purchase of an additional apartment, the Board claims it had nothing to do with race, but alleges Fletcher’s financial troubles. Fletcher declined comment for Nightline story.

[Katie Couric:]
Some have question the timing and motivation of your whole case, your husband was having legal and financial troubles, including a bankruptcy surrounding the hedge funding he ran, some stories have suggested that he might be the driving force behind this. Others have said he warned you this would ruin your carrier, what – how would you describe his role in all this?

[Ellen Pao:]
I can’t talk about the case and I would rather not talk about my husband.

[Katie Couric:]
Do you think in some ways even if you can’t discuss it, it’s relevant?

[Ellen Pao:]
I think this is a really hard issue. And people are very comfortable attacking the person who raises these issues with whatever they can find. And it’s often not very pretty.

[Voice Over:]
In the end, a jury of six men and six women sided with Pao’s former employer.

[Katie Couric:]
When it comes to your situation people have said, you know, there was no legal merit to your complaints. And is this something that can be proven legally? In other words, are there often subtle examples of this that may not be illegal, but they may be inappropriate or they may create an environment that is – is not helpful to women and minorities?

[Ellen Pao:]
So I don’t really want to talk about the legalities of my case or [in] general, I think, people have to think about what is fair and what is right and are women succeeding at the rates that they should be or minorities succeeding at the rates that they should be. And if you look the numbers and if you look at – hear people experiences, the answer is no.

[Voice Over:] Source: LYBIO.net
Despite receiving fan mail and messages of support from all around the world, Pao’s lawsuit had its critics.

[Heather Mac Donald:]
The idea that she was highly qualified and still fired just does not make sense.

[Voice Over:]
Heather McDonald wrote a scathing op ed in “The Wall Street journal” about Pao’s case.

[Heather Mac Donald:]
In fact, Ellen Pao was given advantages and a leg up that male comparable employees at Kleiner Perkins were not given.

[Katie Couric:]
Some of those negative comments and some of the critics, I think, might say that women play the gender card, when the truth is they just aren’t that good. So when people accuse you of just hey, she couldn’t cut it and she is just finding foul regarding gender what’s your response to that?

[Ellen Pao:]
I can’t really talk about my case. So I can tell you that it’s from a broader perspective, it’s a hard issue for people to really confront. It’s either like society has its problem and it’s hard to fix or this woman has a problem and let’s just ignore it.

[Voice Over:]
Meanwhile Pao may have lost this battle, but she’s not raising a white flag yet in her case against Kleiner.

[Katie Couric:]
Is the road ending here for you in terms of your legal recourse? Where does that stand?

[Ellen Pao:]
We are not talking about it, we’re still in midst of making some decisions.

[Katie Couric:]
About whether you’ll – you will in fact appeal the case?

[Ellen Pao:]
Yes and we’re not talking about it.

[Juju Chang:] Source: LYBIO.net
Our thanks to Katie Couric. You can checkout Katie’s full interview with Ellen Pao on Yahoo News.

Ellen Pao Talks About Gender Bias In Silicon Valley

Ellen Pao Talks About Gender Bias In Silicon Valley

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