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Ed Lazowska in Crosscut: “Learning from Satya Nadella’s comments”

Screen_Shot_2014-10-11_at_3.24.29_PM_fit_300x300An article in Crosscut by CSE’s Ed Lazowska:

“Let’s use Satya Nadella’s remarks at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing as a learning experience – for all of us.

“When Larry Summers made the comments about women in academia that led to the termination of his presidency at Harvard, the issue was not “inarticulateness” – it was that his comments betrayed a lack of familiarity with a rich scholarly literature regarding discrimination against women in academia: literature that should be deeply familiar to any person in an academic administrative role, from department chair to dean to provost to president.

“Similarly, the issue with Satya Nadella’s remarks was not “inarticulateness” (as his first Twitter apology stated). It was that his remarks betrayed a lack of familiarity with a rich scholarly literature regarding discrimination against women in the tech workplace, and suggested a degree of faith in the personnel systems at Microsoft and other tech companies that is contradicted by data and experience …

“Diversity matters. The playing field is not level. Today’s biases are sometimes more subtle than yesterday’s biases. This makes them more difficult to identify and tackle. Leaders – at every level – must be held accountable for recognizing and tackling these biases.”

Read the entire article here.

Previous post on Nadella’s comments, with links to worthwhile background reading, here.

October 12, 2014