Just a few days after Ellen Pao lost her landmark gender discrimination suit against Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, she sat down with Katie Couric, Yahoo’s Global News Anchor, to discuss the trial and its aftermath.
Now the interim chief executive officer at Reddit, Pao had sought $16 million in lost income and $144 million in punitive damages from Kleiner Perkins, her former employer. She claimed that she had experienced discrimination and professional retaliation after reporting a colleague for sexual harassment.
The testimony was often salacious, Pao’s character often came under attack, and a San Francisco jury ultimately ruled against her on all counts. But Pao seemed uncowed during her interview with Yahoo. More than once, she asserted that she stands by her decision to take Kleiner Perkins to court.
“I haven’t thought about it that way,” Pao said when Couric asked if she has any regrets about the legal proceedings. “I think coming out and hearing so much support for so many people in so many different places has been really rewarding. And I think of [the] person who gets inspired because they realize this is something that a lot of women face.”
“So you feel like it was all worth it?” Couric later asked.
“Yes,” Pao replied. “I do.”
Pao’s high-profile lawsuit sparked a heated conversation about how women are treated in the male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley. During her interview with Couric, Pao maintained that the tech world’s representation problem extends to other minority groups as well.
Couric pointed out that last month, two Asian-American women filed discrimination lawsuits against Facebook and Twitter. Pao, who is also Asian American, claimed that she believes that there “is a lot of discrimination based on race.”
“It’s something we have to figure out as a whole,” she told Couric. “People feel uncomfortable with people who are different from them, whether it’s gender, or race, or religion, or sexuality.”