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On Other Blogs Today: Karma's a Bitch

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By Erica C. Barnett October 10, 2014


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A lot of smart folks have written about the very, very dumb statements made by Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella about how women can get ahead in the tech workforce. (In short, Nadella claimed that women should simply wait for fair pay to fall into our laps thanks to our feminine "super powers," "faith that the system will give you the right raises," and the good "karma" that we earn by not asking for what we need).

Claire Cain Miller, a blogger at the New York Times, had one of my favorite responses to Nadella's asinine remarks, which concluded, "Many people responding to Mr. Nadella’s comments asked whether he got to the chief executive position by asking for it or by quietly waiting to be noticed. Microsoft declined to comment on that question."

Karma, Miller accurately points out, doesn't win you a position as head of the world's largest software company; nor is it the reason that just three in ten of Microsoft's employees are female—unless you believe that women at major tech companies like Microsoft have just been too demanding to rise through the ranks.

Image via BusinessWeek.

In the one-liner department, we have to give credit to The Billfold's Ester Bloom, whose post on Nadella's statement (nope, it's not a "gaffe" unless you truly didn't mean it) was headlined, "Being a good girl did not work for Lily Ledbetter. It will not work for you." The headline was a reference to the female manager who found out that her employer, Goodyear Tire Co., had paid her less than men in the same or lesser positions for decades, simply because she was a woman. 

That said, we aren't entirely thrilled with the "Lean In" conclusion: "If you want to believe that the meek will someday inherit the earth as a personal religious philosophy, fantastic. If you want to think that karma works, great. But if you want to make a living in contemporary, cut-throat America, you have to focus less on being a good girl and more on figuring out how to be a confident employee."

Or, you know, fight the system that insists that you, Independent Woman, are responsible for your own destiny and salary, no matter what gender-specific obstacles (unfair parental and home labor distribution, lack of paid family and medical leave, unaffordable child care and preschool costs, etc. etc. ad infinitum) stand in your way. 


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