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Women’s pay remark trails Microsoft chief to the cloud

 Microsoft/AFP

Microsoft/AFP

SAN FRANCISCO, October 21- Even as Microsoft ramped up Internet “cloud” offerings for businesses, its chief continued to be dogged by a comment that women should not ask for pay raises.

Satya Nadella hosted a press gathering Monday in San Francisco, where the US software titan detailed its strategy and latest moves for helping  businesses tap into the power of colossal online data centers as needed.

Nadella found himself fielding questions about a gaffe that has been hounding him since early this month when he contended that women should forego asking for pay raises, and instead trust that good karma will result in just rewards at work.

“The last week and a half or so have been a humbling and learning experience for me,” Nadella said at the cloud computing presentation.

“The audience wanted to see that a CEO like myself understood the challenges of women in the work force.”

He admitted he erred by not seeing the issue as one of equal pay for equal work, and that a check had determined Microsoft is “in good shape” in that regard but, like other technology firms, could use more women in its engineering ranks.

Nadella was speaking during an on stage discussion at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Arizona, when he provoked a fierce debate on equal treatment for women in tech industry jobs.

Asked about advice for women interested in advancing careers but uncomfortable asking for pay increases, Nadella reasoned that they should just trust “that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

He reportedly went on to contend that women who don’t ask for pay raises have a “superpower” in the form of “good karma, that’ll come back.”

Studies have consistently shown women get paid less than men doing the same jobs.

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