Tech Investor Ellen Pao’s Memoir Sheds Light On Silicon Valley Sexism

MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) — Tech investor Ellen Pao has released a new memoir.

After rocking the tech industry in 2015 with her trial on gender discrimination.

The new book not only covers her lawsuit, but it takes a closer look at racism.

It has been 2 and a half years since Pao lost the lawsuit against her old employer Kleiner Perkins here in Menlo Park.

In her new book, titled Reset, she covers a lot topics, including the drama from the lawsuit, office politics and gossip, and for the first time, opens up about race, talking about what it’s like being an Asian women working in tech, in the Bay Area.

On CBS This Morning, Pao did not hold back about gender bias in Silicon Valley, saying Asian women are often told they speak too softly and that male colleagues hit on them all the time.

Pao said, “For Asians there’s an expectation, especially for Asian women that you’ll be subservient, that you’re not going to rock the boat, that you’re going to take these second-tier roles and just do them happily and work really hard at them.”

The book has been described as part memoir, part self-help, part tell-all about Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

There was the time when she saw a male colleague stand in the doorway of a female coworker “licking an ice cream cone while staring at her.”

“I heard often that women were just not funny or that we weren’t able to take a joke or didn’t smile enough,” Pao said. “If you talk, you talk too much. If you don’t talk, you’re too quiet.”

She said the atmosphere was, “If you want to protect your work, you’re not a team player.”

She says bias is alive and well in the Bay Area.

“I think there’s a set of people who don’t believe that women and people of color can execute and work and perform like other people can,” Pao said.

Pao’s lawsuit helped kick start the conversation on the so-called culture of harassment in Silicon Valley.

“I don’t think it’s really changing, I think people will have seen the problem now, they’re so many women and men that have spoken up about it, but in order to change, you have to change everything about the system,” Pao said.

Kleiner Perkins has always denied Pao’s accusations and told CBS the firm is committed to supporting women and minorities in the tech industry.

Pao says she doesn’t regret bringing the lawsuit.

“Not at all. From all the support that I’ve received and all the change I’m starting to see, perceptions of how people are treated, it’s been worth it,” Pao said.

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