Silicon Valley's Woman-Friendly Venture Capital Firm Still a Boys' Club


Ellen Pao, who’s suing the venture capital investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for gender bias, testified Monday against a former male colleague whom she called “relentless” when she broke off their affair.

Via AP Online:

The lawsuit has spotlighted gender imbalance at elite Silicon Valley investment companies that are stacked with some of the nation’s most accomplished graduates— multiple-degree holders from schools such as Harvard and Stanford who are competing aggressively to back the next Google or Amazon.
But women are grossly underrepresented in the venture capital and technology sectors.
Pao is seeking $16 million in damages after claiming she was passed over for a promotion because she is a woman and then fired in 2012 after she complained.

As a refresher, KPCB is considered one of the top dogs in the venture capital world—and the company itself boasts that it has more female partners than any other VC firm. Evidence from the suit suggests that the firm is anything but female-friendly, though, and essentially made Pao jump through flaming hoops in order to climb a ladder that ultimately came crashing down.

I did a bit of digging around, as one does in the wee hours of the night and when one’s curiosity is piqued by chauvinism, and I found this pithy blog post on the company’s website, published last spring by a woman named Juliet de Baubigny. Its title: “The Tech Sector Needs More Women; Here’s How You Can Make It Happen” (which, ironically, is the theme of 2015 International Women’s Day).


If you have the luxury of choice, opt for more demanding work that will allow you to earn more income and get a better job at a better company.

Like reading the erotic book of poetry your coworker gave you. I’ll attest personally: proofreading is no joke. And poets make a lot of mistakes, especially the kind that write with perpetual boners! Boners are always getting in the way.

Look for people and places that will support you, and don’t wait until you’re pregnant.

That’s right: keep your frisky baby-making uterus outta here.

Be wary of working part-time.

Or getting fired for speaking up, which means working no-time.

Also know the risks of taking off more than a few months at a time.

Like if you’re fired and not working because you demanded to be treated equally.

Recognize that your career is valuable, too.

But not more valuable than the careers of men in the upper echelon. M’kay?

Finally, a bit of advice for women in that moment of vulnerability: Just try to make it work for a little while.

I feel like they must have branded kneepads in the HR office or something. No?

Image via Getty

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