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Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Isn’t Done Fighting Gender Discrimination After Courtroom Defeat


Ellen Pao, the Reddit Interim CEO who recently lost a gender discrimination case against former employer Kleiner Perkins, isn’t done fighting for gender equality in the workplace. She knows all too well that it’s an uphill battle, and she’s got some encouraging words for women facing similar situations.

Despite her legal defeat, Pao told the Wall Street Journal, “You need to work through these [gender] issues because they are here, and they’re not going to go away.” Her legal battle against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm was reportedly rigorous, and even jurors who found themselves siding against Pao based on the available evidence still aren’t happy with gender politics in the workplace, either. That’s what’s so tough about gender discrimination cases: It’s tough to prove how someone might have hypothetically been treated as the opposite gender—even when we can all admit that gender-based discrimination is a reality of business.

Pao’s character was brought under attack during the trial, but she encourages women to stand up for what they believe in no matter what others may say about them. She said, “I would tell [another woman] to have confidence in herself, to know that what she’s doing is important, and to always remember not to let other people change her view of herself.”

And that’s only made more difficult by how women are generally viewed in the workplace: They’re often categorized as either over- or under-aggressive with no middle ground—in very much the same way that young girls who show any confidence whatsoever are often labeled “bossy.” As Pao put it, “You have this needle that you have to thread, and sometimes it feels like there’s no hole in the needle.”

But she’s made strides in improving Reddit’s diversity-friendliness both behind-the-scenes with revamped hiring practices and for users with added attention to keeping the site’s content from victimizing people, and she’s not ready to give up her legal battle just yet, either. Pao told Katie Couric that she’s considering an appeal of her case—after all, someone once said these issues aren’t just going to go away.

(via Business Insider)

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