Ellen Pao: ‘This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley’

Ellen Pao, in an excerpt at The Cut from her new book Reset:

In my own interview, when I mentioned that my colleagues had talked about a porn star when we were on a plane together, the investigator asked if it was Sasha Grey. I said no. He pressed the point, saying that Sasha Grey was crossing over into legitimate acting. At another point, the investigator asked, in a “gotcha” tone, “Well, if they look down on women so much, if they block you from opportunities, they don’t include you at their events, why do they even keep you around in the first place?”

I hadn’t thought about it before. I replied slowly as the answer crystallized in my mind: If you had the opportunity to have workers who were overeducated, underpaid, and highly experienced, whom you could dump all the menial tasks you didn’t want to do on, whom you could get to clean up all the problems, and whom you could create a second class out of, wouldn’t you want them to stay?

It is remarkable and admirable what Pao chose to go through rather than accept a multi-million-dollar buyout and sign a non-disclosure agreement, simply so she could tell her story.

Update: One niggle: the headline on this piece ought to be “This Is How Sexism Works in the VC Industry”, not “in Silicon Valley”.

Monday, 21 August 2017