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25 Feb 2015

Emily Bazelon, New York Times

What’s Really at Stake in Ellen Pao’s Kleiner Perkins Lawsuit

…It is telling that the highest-profile lawsuit of the moment in Silicon Valley isn’t about intellectual property or antitrust violations, but about sex discrimination…At the heart of the case is Pao’s claim that a married colleague at Kleiner Perkins pressured her into an affair and then, after she ended the relationship, retaliated by excluding her from meetings and email discussions, which affected her work performance…Kleiner Perkins has responded that Pao received bad performance reviews and lacked the attributes for succeeding in venture capital…The firm also says it has long been a supporter of women in house and in the industry…The case has riveted the tech world, not just because of the personal particulars but also because of the way in which it captures the zeitgeist in one of the most powerful and gender-imbalanced corners of a powerful and gender-imbalanced industry…Pao’s lawsuit suggests the singular role that venture capitalists could play in pushing, or thwarting, a cultural shift. As the kingmakers who decide which start-ups survive, they have the leverage to make the industry more receptive to women and their ideas or continue to reinforce the “brogrammer” norm…[Also refers to Snapchat, Square, TechCrunch, Tinder]