- Mar 27:
- Ellen Pao speaks out after losing case against Kleiner Perkins
- Video: Ellen Pao, Kleiner Perkins lawyer react to discrimination case verdict
- Timeline: Ellen Pao’s career, key moments at Kleiner Perkins
- Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins case: A who’s who
- Ellen Pao trial: Kleiner Perkins wins on all counts
- #EllenPao #KleinerPerkins verdict: Social media reaction
- Live tweet recap: Ellen Pao jury delivers verdict (again) in Kleiner Perkins’ favor
- Mar 26:
- Quinn: Ellen Pao and the dinner invitation dilemma
- Mar 25:
- Ellen Pao sex discrimination case goes to the jury
- In male venture-capital world, women’s experiences range from successful to harrowing
- Live blog recap: Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins case goes to jury
- Mar 24:
- Closing arguments in Ellen Pao case: ‘They ran Kleiner Perkins like a boys club’
- Mar 23:
- Ellen Pao lawsuit forces Silicon Valley to re-examine its ways
- Live blog recap: Day 1 of closing arguments in Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins trial
- Mar 21:
- Judge: Ellen Pao may claim punitive damages in Kleiner Perkins suit
- Mar 19:
- Kleiner Perkins judge to decide on Ellen Pao’s claim for punitive damages
- Mar 16:
- Live blog recap: Mary Meeker testifies at Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins trial
- Mar 13:
- Ellen Pao fields 2 hours of questions from jury
- Mar 12:
- Live blog recap, March 13: Jurors pepper Ellen Pao with questions
- Quinn: It’s about the small stuff at the Kleiner trial
- Ellen Pao ends 4 days of testimony with claims of ‘biased’ Kleiner investigator
- Judge’s ruling: Personal finances of Ellen Pao and her husband will not be part of trial
- Ellen Pao trial live blog recap, March 12: Kleiner Perkins’ ex-COO takes the stand
- Mar 11:
- Kleiner Perkins lawyer casts doubt on Ellen Pao’s financial motivation for suit
- Live blog recap, March 11: Cross-exam hammers away at Ellen Pao’s expertise, attitude
- Mar 10:
- Ellen Pao faces blistering cross-examination in Kleiner Perkins trial
- Live blog recap, March 10: Ellen Pao comes under blistering cross-examination
- Mar 9:
- Ellen Pao takes the stand in Kleiner Perkins trial: ‘I wanted to be considered equal’
- Ellen Pao trial live blog recap, March 9: ‘I wanted to be taken seriously’
- Mar 6:
- Kleiner Perkins trial: The firm’s identity crisis, Pao’s ‘nightmare’ relationship with male colleague
- Ellen Pao trial: Is Kleiner’s problem discrimination or perception?
- Mar 5:
- Ellen Pao trial: Kleiner business talk turned to porn stars, Playboy and ‘really hot’ Marissa Mayer
- Ellen Pao trial live blog recap, March 6: Kleiner Perkins’ ‘identity crisis,’ Pao not ‘warm and fuzzy’
- Live blog recap, March 5: Talking porn, Tinder at Ellen Pao sex discrimination trial
- The Ellen Pao trial: A female chip on her shoulder and being asked to take notes
- Mar 4:
- Ellen Pao trial: Doerr says tech, VC firms would do better ‘if they hired more women’
- Live blog recap: John Doerr says Ellen Pao not a team player as testimony continues
- Mar 3:
- John Doerr testifies he fought to keep Ellen Pao
- Live blog recap: John Doerr testifies in Ellen Pao sex discrimination trial
- Mar 2:
- Quinn: John Doerr and Ellen Pao: The mentor and the protege on the stand
- Feb 27:
- Top Kleiner Perkins partner: Women can succeed at firm
- Live tweet recap: Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins sex discrimination trial testimony
- Feb 25:
- Live blog recap: Day 2 of Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins sex discrimination trial
- Feb 24:
- Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins: Opening arguments touch on sex, power and money
- Live blog recap: Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins sex discrimination trial, opening arguments
- Feb 20:
- Ellen Pao, Kleiner Perkins face off in $16M sex discrimination trial
- Feb 2:
- Ellen Pao seeking $16 million in sex discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
It was always a long shot.
The jury in Ellen Pao’s sex discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers had to find that Pao’s gender was the reason she didn’t ascend to the rarefied club of general partners at the vaunted venture capital firm.
They had to believe that the slights Pao experienced, the odd conversation about porn stars on a private jet and the boards she was left off, had a cumulative effect; that she couldn’t get ahead no matter what, because she is a woman.
They had to ignore her performance reviews, criticizing her for conflicts with other partners.
But they did not, on Friday, delivering a sweeping legal victory to Kleiner, and leaving Pao without the millions she sought.
That’s not the end of it, of course.
This trial resonated with many women in Silicon Valley, because they perceive the playing field isn’t level when it comes to getting a job at a tech company, earning a promotion, securing funding or working at a VC firm. And I’m pretty certain the outcome of this trial will not change their minds.
Pao was never the perfect plaintiff. And Kleiner, which claimed it was the best of the VC bunch on gender issues, wasn’t the best target.
But Pao’s suit highlighted an important question: Are Silicon Valley companies just paying lip service when they say they support women in tech, or are they taking action to change the working culture?
“If I have helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,” Pao said Friday after the verdict.
There is fear that with Pao’s loss, nothing has to change, several women told me. “I hope this loss does not lead anyone to think that gender discrimination isn’t a real problem with venture firms. It is,” said Robin Wolaner, chief operating officer of We Care Solar, a nonprofit.
Freada Kapor Klein, the co-chair of the Kapor Center, compared Pao to Anita Hill, who in 1991 testified at the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court nomination, accusing him in a nationally televised hearing about his alleged sexual harassment.
Even though Thomas was confirmed, “that didn’t stop the avalanche of change that was triggered by the hearings,” said Klein. “I don’t think it’s possible to put the genie in the bottle now given what we have learned about venture capital and Silicon Valley.”
“The gig is up,” added Ann Skeet, the director of leadership ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. “Given all that was revealed in the case, we learned what a tough environment venture can be for women.”
So now what?
Pao will go back to her job at Reddit, the social media news site, as interim CEO. Kleiner will continue funding companies.
But the trial and its sordid details will linger, a blemish for Kleiner and another reminder of how far the tech industry, even at the highest levels, has to go to treat women as equals.
Pao may not have won her legal case. But if nothing else, her suit will be a significant step toward making sure that future Ellen Paos have the shot they deserve to succeed in the tech industry.