Microsoft still doesn’t get gender equality

46

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/13/microsoft-sexual-harassment-lawsuit-lacklustre-response

Oh Dear, it seems that Satya still doesn’t get it.

Comments (46)

46 responses to “Microsoft still doesn’t get gender equality”

  1. skane2600

    The tech industry state of denial on this issue is deep. It threatens people's belief in the myth of meritocracy.

  2. Paul Thurrott

    Just as a heads-up.

    No one here deletes comments because we "disagree." We delete comments that are personal attacks, spam, and comments that are inappropriate in an obvious way. This particular forum post is a sensitive topic, obviously. But the conversation is important and, for me at least, I am not interested in censoring anyone. I am even less interested, however, in putting up with BS. And we've seen some of that. So, yeah. Some people can't be civil.

  3. karlinhigh

    In the tech industry, what conditions would have to exist before everyone could agree there are no gender problems? Or rather, what would a solution to gender problems look like?


    • skane2600

      In reply to karlinhigh:

      Equal pay for equal work would be a start. No harassment or at least if it occurred the company would respond appropriately without regard to who the harasser is even if they are the CEO or on the board. To the extent possible, equal representation in highly paid technical and executive positions (I don't know exactly how difficult it might be to find women who are qualified but I believe that the difficulty is exaggerated by discrimination deniers ).


      Of course, qualifications are easily manipulated by companies to support whatever agenda they may have. The typical list of technical qualifications is absurdly long and with the average tech employee tenure of 3 years, most of these qualifications will never be used. Thus companies can deny anyone to be hired because they are don't have all the qualifications while hiring anyone they want who has at least some of them. Then there's always the excuse of the candidate's "fit". If most tech employees are young, white men, what can of person would you imagine would be a good "fit"?

      • wright_is

        In reply to skane2600:

        In Europe, I have had more female managers over the years than male managers. Certainly at the companies where I worked, all IT companies of some form except one, there were many women and they were, from what I could see in daily life, treated well and little or no harassment.

        Obviously, not being female and not having worked in all departments, I can't say that unequivocally, but the general impression was that, at least on the promotion and harassment front, things were fairly good. Obviously, I can't say anything about pay, as that is always a secret and you can't discuss money with other employees (at least you are contractually not allowed to).

        I did encounter one real harassment case, we were ordered to leave early one day. The next day a member of staff was missing. Allegedly, he had gone up to a female member of staff, dropped his trousers and asked her what she could do with it... She could, it turned out, call her boss, who had the guy quietly ejected from the building. What he told his fiancee, when he got home, I don't know.

        At the end of the day, you have to work hard to get a promotion or raise (and have a competent boss). I've seen people not get promoted (male and female), because the management decided that they had reached the peak of their effectiveness and weren't suitable for taking on more managerial responsibility, at least not without further training. The same for pay rises, I've had people working under me get good pay rises and have had to inform others, that their performance wasn't of the level expected and they would therefore not receive a rise.

      • karlinhigh

        In reply to skane2600: Equal pay for equal work would be a start.

        Isn't there already a law requiring that?

        The Equal Pay Act of 1963: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm

        Or maybe that isn't effective somehow; no labor lawyer here.

  4. Bats

    People in the tech industry are poli-social hypocrites.

  5. Bob Nelson

    Satya Nadella was born, raised, and educated in India. Traditionally, women have very little value in Indian culture.


    My brother & his wife adopted 2 girls from India back in the 1980’s. He wanted a boy and a girl, but at that time they weren’t allowing foreign adoptions of boys. They put a high value on boys, but girls were basically treated as worthless.


    It’s no surprise to me that Satya Nadella is unconcerned about equality. He might mouth the right platitudes, but you can’t erase generations of cultural norms from a person.


    Has anybody compiled statistics on the nationalities of those charged with sexual harassment at Microsoft, or the tech industry in general?


    Or is everyone just assuming that’s it’s the normal villains, aka white male devils?


  6. MutualCore

    How about hiring based on qualifications?

  7. karlinhigh

    Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View: As a Woman In Tech, I Realized: These Are Not My People


    "...the reason I left is that I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said “What did you do this weekend?”


    I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: “I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,” and our co-workers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail.


    At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me."

    • skborders

      In reply to karlinhigh:

      I don't believe this supports the purpose of the post. In this case, she decided that she didn't fit in. Some times we like what we do, just not enough to excel to the level we would like. As a life long mechanic, I would rather listen to someone describe a car build than listen to there personal life stories.

      • Polycrastinator

        In reply to skborders:

        There is an issue of actually showing you care about your coworkers, though. If someone is having a rough time in their personal life and share, I do think you have an obligation to show some sympathy, even if that's not the sort of thing you would normally be interested in. Being a welcoming, diverse workplace takes effort, and that's effort you should put in even if it doesn't come naturally to you, because there are inherent benefits to having a diverse workplace.

        I'm reminded of the data (no citation, sorry) that diverse teams are more productive but less happy. I suspect the effort to make that work is part of that dynamic.

        • skborders

          In reply to Polycrastinator:

          I don't necessarily disagree with what you are saying. I believe it is more of a moral obligation than a secular one. I myself try to help anyone having problems. I just don't think the particular cited example fits the subject at hand. That particular group would probably do the same thing to a man who was having personal problems. I have seen many times a man say he is getting a divorce or having problems at home and the overwhelming response was 'that sucks' and then 'look at the fish I caught Saturday'.

    • skane2600

      In reply to karlinhigh:

      Apparently Ms. McArdle is fallen for a common tech myth. What you do on your weekends has nothing to do with how good you are at work. Some people like to make tech both their hobby and their profession, which is fine, but professional work is fundamentally different than hobby activities even if there's an overlap in domain.


      She might have been a victim of impostor syndrome as well.

  8. jimchamplin

    This hits kinda close to home.


    My partner is trans and earlier today was talking about how "good it feels" that the tech companies are leading the way in gender freedom.


    Ugh.


    But then Microsoft kinda... well...


    ... They suck it up at that?

    • skane2600

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I doubt that Microsoft is any worse than most of the others. If your partner is being treated appropriately, that's great but it doesn't mean that's true at most tech companies. Also I think the article is mostly referencing discrimination against women, not trans individuals.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to skane2600:

        You’re right. Which is my point entirely. “Diversity” initiatives aren’t fixing the culture surrounding the way women are treated. They can add as many non-white-men as they want, but if they can’t treat women with respect and handle harassment issues properly (it would be better if the issues just didn’t happen) then they’re still failing.

  9. Roger Ramjet

    If you are going to initiate a topic or comment on lawsuits, alleged discrimination and sexual crimes, you really need to provide a paragraph or two of your own thoughts. Don't hide behind ambiguity.


    • skane2600

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      Doesn't seem ambiguous to me at all.

      • Roger Ramjet

        In reply to skane2600:

        It's not clear to me. Please explain to me, "like I am a 2 year old", apologies to Joe Miller. in a couple of paragraphs what are your main points. Seriously, just indulge me if you will. The exercise may help other readers as well. Thanks.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Roger Ramjet:

          You're asking me to explain Jule's headline? Probably better if he explains himself (if he wishes to) but here goes:


          He linked to a story about continuing problems at Microsoft concerning gender bias. Then he stated that Satya (who had previously made some clueless comments on the subject) is still acting like he doesn't understand the problem.

          • Roger Ramjet

            In reply to skane2600:

            No, I am not asking for an explanation of Jule's headline. I scanned the story, and it is essentially "the same story" that I have read a number of times over the past few years from press on the liberal side of things: Tech industry is bad, they discriminate against women. Of course that is just part of the general #metoo movement etc (btw, I hate fox news/right wing media and never go there, so don't take this as some right wing nut venting).

            What I wanted to know, from Jules, and yourself, since you commented so briefly, is what your own actual exposition on the matter. A sort of developed logic/set of facts of your own as you understand them, that you would stand and defend. Maybe I can understand better what I have not been able to, from these press stories, since I switched off their credibility after they got it completely wrong on Ellen Pao, and refused to admit it, but all of them, doubled down, implying that a peer selected *SF* Jury, is somehow a part of the conspiracy ...

            But if you would rather not get into that, no problem. Of course this website also has the sort of Microsoft/Nadella bashers, so, this particular cudgel could simply be, just as good as any ... some of the press is that way too, they simply don't like big dominant entities/industries and like to cut them down to size, one way or another.

            • Jules Wombat

              In reply to Roger Ramjet:

              You need an explanation ?

              In light of Satya having to apologise a couple years back, when he suggested that women were not getting better pay at Microsoft, because he suggested they should be more aggressive and demanding as their male peers. He apologised then, and indicated that he and Microsoft would do better. The whole Tech industry pretty well sucks at supporting it's female workers. Microsoft have an opportunity to show they are better than the norm. As this is a Microsoft forum, it's relevant to call them up on this here. And on Satya specifically, who otherwise to my mind is doing a pretty good job for his shareholders and enterprise customers.

              Is that clear enough explanation for you?

              • Roger Ramjet

                In reply to Jules_Wombat:

                You are wrong in the way you remember what happened with Nadella (1) what he said wasn't about Microsoft, he had given some advise at a women's conference where he was interviewed, He was not commenting about Microsoft  (2) He actually said the opposite of what you wrote above, he said they should *not* be aggressive.

                These things were probably based on his personal experience as a hard charging immigrant who just worked and let the money follow, he should not have been extrapolating his personal immigrant experience to a totally different situation. For one it wasn't scientific, or analytic just like homespun type thing. Big mistake when communicating as CEO of a company in the public eye, so, it was a learning as a new leader at that scale.

                This lawsuit you linked above was filed in 2015. So, not sure how you can use things that happened average 5 years ago  to say Nadella doesn't get it in 2018. 

                So, thanks. It helps when you provide your own input.


            • skane2600

              In reply to Roger Ramjet:

              You lost me at "press on the liberal side of things".

              • Roger Ramjet

                In reply to skane2600:

                You know, in the U.K. for example, they make no bones about it. There is a "center right", and "center left" etc, press. Just like there are Labor/Conservatives, most major papers come with their political orientation, well known to the public, and the journalists working there. The actual publishers, journalists etc don't consider it a slur if you refer to them as such. Just a description of from which point of view they pick things up. A fact that is beyond obvious in the U.S. now as well, whatever may have operated at some time in the dim past. I think it helps if you want to have honest discussion to acknowledge the obvious.

                I hope that helps. I know you are capable of processing more than 2 sentences.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to Roger Ramjet:

                  I don't know much about the press in the UK, but if, in fact, they label themselves in such a manner it has no bearing on the political leanings or lack of them by media in the US (The UK press is different, example - the Sun used to publish pictures of 16 year-old topless girls). Obviously some media outlets are biased, but if there's a problem with most of the press in the US it's with false equivalence and fixation on ratings (traditional or otherwise).


                  In any case, the political leanings of media outlets that report about gender bias in tech is hardly evidence one way or another.

                • Roger Ramjet

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  I cannot post links on this site for some reason. Anyone can Bing "List of Newspapers in the United Kingdom Wikipedia" to check on my earlier post and the below, there is a table there with information on U.K. newspapers and their slants.

                  The Sun (right wing slant) is a tabloid, like National Enquirer (which is a Trump supporter) not a quality paper. So, no, you would not have the equivalent of a NYT, WaPo, or WSJ putting naked girls in the paper in the U.K. totally different category.

                  "The U.K. Press" is not different in this situation. Actually, in this case it is exactly the same. You see, the story Jules' linked is from "The Guardian", a U.K. liberal paper that has expanded (ratings! :-)) to join, yes, the liberal press in the U.S. Sorry, the paper in the U.K. that has and accepts its left of center POV, is not different from its clone that chases and appearently is succeeding in getting U.S. readership (looks like POV helps after all). So, what you missed is that ratings are linked to POV.

                  POV matters, especially when we are discussing the same related topics over many years. It's for example why there is the law that says politicians should label that they approved a message, so viewer knows who it's coming from. Especially, as I have sited above (if you didn't get lost before that paragraph) we saw a clear, very prominent case where the same entities refused to concede when they were spectacularly wrong, engaged in second guessing and disputing the not-even-close findings of a Jury of peers in the most liberal place in America, and from there just went ahead with the same approach on related topics until today (not a big surprise, most human beings don't change their mind, talk less of institutions that are steeped in persistent, networked ecosystems of millions of human beings. A couple of mountains would have to move to change their POV).

                  Bottomline, what we are seeing here is at least in part, agenda setting driven by POV, not pure news reporting

                • skane2600

                  In reply to Roger Ramjet:

                  POV matters only if you take a publications claims at face value. Facts, regardless of who they come from determines the validity of a claim.


                  BTW, The Guardian isn't the only publication that covers the story. Are they all liberal? :


                  money.cnn.com/2018/03/13/technology/microsoft-gender-discrimination-lawsuit/index.html


                  fortune.com/2018/03/13/microsoft-gender-discrimination-lawsuit-hr-complaints/


                  abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/lawsuit-microsoft-confirmed-118-gender-bias-complaints-53741809


                  www.engadget.com/2018/03/13/microsoft-faces-238-complaints-of-gender-discrimination-harassment/


                  www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-women/microsoft-women-filed-238-discrimination-and-harassment-complaints-idUSKCN1GP077



                • Roger Ramjet

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  You fail to acknowledge each time your prior point is disproven or invalidated, and then just move on to argue a next step. But, OK.

                  I can't go through all these links, I mean we all have stuff to do apart from posting on Thurrott. But yes, as an aside many mainstream/national media in the U.S. are liberal. It was a gap that Murdoch found and was able to so badly exploit not by bringing something center right, and fact based, but with something much more extreme, to grab maximum eyeballs and gain maximum influence in politics. You claimed UK media was different earlier, well US media is different from UK for lack of ideological diversity (diversity, diversity, the irony, right?). You get this in other US institutions like board rooms, military, college professors. American society seems to bunch and aggregate along ideological lines in its institutions more than in say, Europe (which is the most comparable development region) perhaps a side product of an inherent efficiency in U.S. affairs that very quickly gets to the chase on various things.

                  But let's take 2 of your links, I picked the first link, CNN money (maybe you get some business side perspective here) and Engadget, which is a tech sheet. Please carefully compare these two stories to The Guardian's story. By far the most explosive item in The Guardian's story which was a consious editorial decision, is they put in there an allegation of a serious crime, rape, and reported an allegation, phrased as fact, of Microsoft complicity. Read the two other stories, and you find nothing about that.

                  What The Guardian did here (which is what was posted as fact to commence this thread) is similar to the modus operandi of the national liberal press in the Ellen Pao case; report explosive allegations, intermingle them, er, liberally, as fact, depreciate or fail to report loud contestations of these allegations by the other side (Unreported contestations that later proved, on a level playing field, far more believable to the most liberal jury you can hope to assemble in America).

                  But once the paper writes this story, it's readership can spread it and just add "Nadella still doesn't get it" etc, no thinking required. [By press, I refer to agenda setting institutions: NYT, WaPo, NPR and their smaller, or new entrant wannabes, including The Guardian. No one reads "Fortune" for news, and I don't get much news on Cable or TV, apart from during presidential debates, so I can speak less to those].

                  *The above situation that The Guardian put in play is POV at work, this is seeking ratings, this is writing to your audience at work* The issue isn't whether the papers are reporting on the news item, but how they cover it, what facts they add, what things that are alleged/contested items they promote rather than demote, how they place things that are unproven, and unknown to them, but are said by one side. There are writers and editors in all these outlets making decisions on these things all the time, it is not random what they include or don't. That is driven by where they are coming from.


                • skane2600

                  In reply to Roger Ramjet:

                  What have you disproven? No matter how many times you make the claim that the US media is liberal it isn't proof.

                • Roger Ramjet

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  I disproved your contention that "UK media is different" because "The Sun put naked girls in the paper", that contention unfortunately led to the implication that The Guardian is different from The Guardian, which is just silly. These were pillars of your argument that while in the U.K. newspapers & their journalists may gamely accept that they have POV which matters to the news they produce, in the U.S. there is no such POV operating, or it does not influence their news.

                  I also sited repeatedly the famous and glaring case of Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, which is an emblematic item on this matter. Anyone who bothers to discuss this should have read about it, unless they are just reaching college age or something. It is impossible for anyone who followed that case which the press gave heavy prominence, on NYT, WaPo, NPR etc, then received the actual verdict of a San Francisco Jury, and not only that, then read what these media produced after that verdict, not to conclude that they have a strong POV that is resistant to factual adjudication, unless that person simply has the same POV as they do, which isn't strange; media and many of their readers often share similar worldviews.

                  After all, long before any of these Upton Sinclair wrote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Substitute POV for salary, and there you have it.

                  This is my last post on this sub thread. I think we have both done enough for anyone reading to, er, stay with their POV or less likely, change something. Good seeing you.



                • skane2600

                  In reply to Roger Ramjet:

                  I didn't express an opinion on Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins so I don't see how that disproves anything that I said. People and the press often have opinions on high-profile court cases. Just as the jury's conclusion on Pao doesn't necessarily invalidate other women's claims of discrimination, a paper's opinion on a single case doesn't necessarily lead to a valid conclusion of their default POV.

                • maethorechannen

                  In reply to skane2600:


                  "I don't know much about the press in the UK, but if, in fact, they label themselves in such a manner"


                  All the papers here have a political leaning that they're open about. Though some of them have changed sides over time.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to maethorechannen:

                  OK, I didn't say otherwise, I just didn't have independent knowledge of it, so I said "if". In any case, my point was that UK press behavior doesn't have anything to do with the US press.

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