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Pao Speaks on Workplace Sexism, but Not Trial: Threading the Needle Is Hard

"From what I’ve heard from women, they do feel like there’s no way to win."

Vjeran Pavic

Interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is making her first unscripted comments since her gender discrimination trial concluded more than a week ago, in interviews with the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo News. However, she restricted the interview topics to the broader issues of women in the workplace rather than the widely covered lawsuit.

All Pao would say of the trial, which her former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers won on all four counts of discrimination and retaliation, is, “I’m glad I did it. But it was hard.”

Pao said of workplace sexism in the Journal interview, “You have this needle that you have to thread, and sometimes it feels like there’s no hole in the needle. From what I’ve heard from women, they do feel like there’s no way to win. They can’t be aggressive and get this opportunity without being treated like they’ve done something wrong.”

Pao has not yet commented on whether she plans to appeal the ruling, though her public statements have been oriented toward closure rather than continuing to fight.

For now, she is embracing her role as a crusader for women — saying she feels strongly connected to people who have shared their own stories with her, and that she is working to make the male-dominated Reddit environment a more inclusive place, both as a public discussion board and as a company.

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