As has been amply publicized, Ellen Pao lost her discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, the San Francisco venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. But even if one believes the jury made the right call in Pao’s case, most women (and hopefully a growing number of men) will acknowledge that women are held to a different standard than men.
Pao wasn’t combatting a “Mad Men”-era policy of “we don’t promote women,” and she wasn’t alleging that she was groped by a superior or chased around a desk. Pao claimed something much harder to prove: that her employer maintained a corporate culture that devalued the contributions of women and held them to a persistent double standard that rewarded her male colleagues for behavior that was held against her.
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