Men and women – just in case you hadn’t noticed, I’d like to point out that they’re different.

Shocking news, I know, but that’s just the way it is and it ain’t gonna change this side of some pretty far out genetic experimentation, so get used to it already.

That said, the differences between the male and female of the species are just that. Differences. Neither sex is better than the other, though some folk still seem to think so. And, based on what I hear time and again, many of those people work in the IT industry.

More’s the pity.

Especially as IT is an industry which is heavily imbalanced in it’s representation of women and security, in particular, is an area in which suitable candidates are in extremely short supply.

But fear not, because men in positions of influence can make a real difference can’t they?

Not if their name is Satya Nadella it seems.

Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, well and truly put his foot in the proverbial on Thursday when he told a computing event for women that they shouldn’t ever ask for a pay rise and should, instead, simply put their trust in a male-dominated system to do the right thing and pay them what they are worth.

In response to a question over how women should broach the always uncomfortable task of requesting a raise he said:

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

Furthermore, he suggested that not requesting a pay rise would actually top up a woman’s ‘karma bank,’ which would, by magic presumably, enhance her trustworthiness within the organisation and so lead to an enhanced level of responsibility.

Wow! Just wow.

Perhaps realising that he had inadvertently proven that if women are from Venus, men must be from planet Stupid, he later tweeted the following non-apology –

– which was later followed up with an email in which the honoured Nadella said:

“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.”

Nadella closed the email by saying he had ‘learned a valuable lesson’ but I, being cynical, cannot help but wonder what the lesson was – that gender pay equality is really rather desirable or that he has to be more careful about airing his opinions?

Whatever Nadella was thinking, it makes me feel uncomfortable on two counts.

Firstly, this is 2014 and we should have progressed far beyond these types of issues by now – some women in IT are as good as men, some better, and some worse, so discussions about differing pay levels based solely upon gender should be moot by now and it is a real shame that they are not.

Secondly, why are we, as an industry, even bringing attention to the sexes in the first place? IT isn’t a man’s world. IT isn’t a woman’s world. It’s just an industry crying out for good quality people and the sooner sexist viewpoints disappear, the sooner the available talent pool will grow.

And that has to be a good thing for everyone.

About the Author: admin

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