The lawsuit that has come to encapsulate gender bias in Silicon Valley is finally drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean that women’s struggle for equality in the tech industry is over. Far from it, in fact. Despite Ellen Pao’s decision not to appeal the decision in her case against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Pao told Re/code on Thursday, “I feel gratified that my actions have encouraged others to speak up about discrimination in venture capital and technology more broadly.” The case, which made headlines across the country and made Pao the scapegoat for sexists everywhere, ended in a resounding loss for the former partner at the venture capital firm. But hopefully, her bravery will spark movements throughout both the tech industry and the workplace at large to finally address the staggering gender inequity that continues to disadvantage women.
“I think I brought these important issues to the forefront of the conversation, but the online aggression has had a toll on me and my family,” Pao said in her Re/code interview. “That so many people heard what I had to say, against all that was brought to bear against me, is a testament to the depth of the problem related to women and tech … [But] I have gone as far as I can go and cannot commit the resources and time that would be needed to continue.”
Ultimately, Pao noted, her decision to wave the white flag was a financial one, and she suggested that the deck, even in the judicial system, is stacked against employees like her. “I think it is wrong that employees have to pay in this situation, but I simply cannot afford the risks of more costs to fight a firm with massive PR and legal resources,” she said. “The court system is not set up to create an even playing field.”
Even though Pao’s case may not have turned out in her favor, a number of major tech companies have certainly made a grand show of increasing their diversity recruitment efforts in the last few months, nodding to the considerable media attention the lawsuit garnered. And while plenty of work remains to be done, one small step for Pao may ultimately prove a leap for women in technology.
You can read Pao’s full statement for Re/code here.