Microsoft CEO apologizes for ridiculous comments about women

"If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask"

By Sarah Gray
October 10, 2014 6:24PM (UTC)
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Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella speaks to students in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

On Thursday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, doled out some rather tone deaf advice to the majority of women at the Grace Hopper Celebration -- a celebration of women in tech put on by the Anita Borg Institute. Following an angry reaction on Twitter, Nadella tweeted an apology:

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He also sent out the following email to Microsoft employees:

"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.


Nadella's response came after he was asked by Dr. Maria Klawe if he had any advice for women who were uncomfortable asking for a raise.

Watch a webcast of the event below. The comments in question begin at 1:35:00.


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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Apology Microsoft Pay Gap Raises Satya Nadella Video Women In Tech