Banning salary negotiations the way to end gender discrimination?


If you didn’t know by now, Reddit’s Interim CEO Ellen Pao is rapidly emerging as the new face of feminism in the U.S. This despite losing a gender discrimination lawsuit against one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture capital firms in March. She now speaks about how the experience changed how she manages her own employees.

Pao says she decided to rewrite the rules of hiring at Reddit. The company no longer allows new hires to negotiate their salaries. She said the move is based on studies that show that when women negotiate, they don’t fare as well as male counterparts.

While she didn’t quote any specific research, there have been plenty of studies backing up her claims.


According to books written by high-ranking women working in male-dominated industries, removing the ability to negotiate, will possibly lead to employees feeling disempowered knowing that they have no real control over their compensation.

UC Hastings Law Professor Joan Williams said: “Does [ending salary negotiations] mean it will be better for every single woman? No, that’s not how things work…But it you want to eliminate an advantage men have because of these prescriptive stereotypes, then this is a clear way to do it.”

She added: “Women don’t negotiate because they sense, often correctly, that it will hurt them if they do… A man is signalling that he’s a man to be reckoned with when he negotiates for starting salary, but a woman who negotiates risks being seen negatively as a prima donna and not a team player.”

So, what do you think of Pao’s rules of hiring at Reddit? Yay or Nay?


Recommended for you

        »  Sofa Sessions: Women at Work
        »  So you wanna run a tech startup?
        »  Beer Fest Asia 2014
        »  A student’s view of the Thaipusam instrument ban
        »  Calvin Cheng: Mindset change for non-graduates is not enough.



About the author

Arthur Lee

View all posts

Share your thoughts!