On The Microsoft CEO Who Told Women Not To Ask For A Raise

Emily microsoft

Chill out, ladies, “the system” has got you covered.

When newly appointed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was asked his advice for women seeking promotion or a raise, he said, to a conference hall packed to the rafters with thousands of technically brilliant and ambitious women, “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.”

He goes on, “It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to.”

Shhhh, girls, just sit quietly in the back and someday the system will remember how politely you sat there. Don’t raise a ruckus (nobody likes ruckus-raising ladies), and your lack of scene-making will perhaps pay off at some future date when your male co-worker is already making 10K more than you. But don’t be too quiet; make a dainty peep every now and then lest they forget about you sitting over there in the corner, miles from the literal and proverbial table. Congratulations on that maybe-future-raise!

Chill out, ladies, “the system” has got you covered.

Are you kidding me with this bullshit? When has the system ever had the backs of anyone other than its creators?

Just yesterday, USA Today covered new research that, like women, people of color are chronically paid less in high-skilled tech jobs. Isn’t it obvious that the system is terrible to everyone who didn’t help make the system? Why? Because it is a system; it was built this way on purpose. The fact that it has favored wealthy, straight, white men for so long is no accident; it’s working exactly the way it’s supposed to work. For them.

Funny how the only people who see the system as a problem are those who are not directly benefiting from it at every turn.

The only thing more terrible than the system is the advice women are given by those who profit from it on how to buck it:

Speak up! The only reason women don’t get paid as much as men is because they don’t ask for it! But don’t like, ask, ask for it…you might come off as pushy, and no one likes pushy women. You’ve got to ask for it while not asking for it at all, you know? Just be there, in the background, mentally asking, but not being loud about it. And also smile while you’re asking-not-asking for it. But not too big, you wouldn’t want us to think that you’re trying to use your looks.

Be feminine! No one likes those shoulder-padded women who think they’re men. We like our women to be womanly! With curves! (But don’t wear a blouse with too deep a neckline, you might distract us, which would also be your fault). But don’t be too feminine, you’ve got to be ambitious, like men! Men know how to ask for what they want, which is why women haven’t succeeded in elbowing their way into the C-suite. Women are bad at elbowing, so learn how to elbow and claw and ladder-climb like your male co-workers! Oh? The ladder they are climbing is too high for your shorter frame? We see how that might be challenging…A leg up? You want a leg up? Well now, that wouldn’t be fair to the others, would it?

Be one of the guys! You know, josh around with them around the water cooler! Put up with their jokes about tits and ass because boys will boys! If you can’t handle boys horsing around, you probably can’t cut it in this type of work environment. It’s not your fault, really, it’s just that men have thicker skin. You should get thicker skin like a man, but not too thick, that might be unattractive. And if their jokes really bother you, speak up, women are always too quiet about things. Did you know that’s why they’re frequently paid less? But don’t complain, you might seem like a nag. Have a sense of humor! But seriously, speak up.

Just not too loudly.

Role Reboot regular contributor Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works in a tech start-up. She blogs every day about gender, media, politics and sex at Rosie Says, and has written for JezebelThe FriskyThe Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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