Summary of This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley

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Some of Silicon Valley’s most renowned firms, such as Google and Uber, have been rocked by discrimination and sexual harassment scandals. The people who fund the Ubers and Googles of the world, however, are often as sexist as the tech companies themselves, concludes Ellen Pao, a former partner at one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capitalist firms. Pao filed a highly publicized –  yet ultimately unsuccessful – sexual harassment lawsuit against her employer. In an excerpt from her book Reset, Pao recounts the events leading up to her decision to sue. getAbstract recommends her account to both men and women in the tech and venture capital industries.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How a female partner at a top venture capital firm experienced the firm’s discriminatory work culture, 
  • Why Ellen Pao decided to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer and 
  • How Pao lost her case and continues to battle workplace discrimination.

About the Author

Ellen Pao is a tech investor, a diversity and inclusion activist at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, the former CEO of Reddit, and a co-founder of the award-winning diversity and inclusion nonprofit Project Include.




During her six years as a junior partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Ellen Pao endured gender discrimination and incidents of sexual harassment. For example, she once found herself on a plane with an all-male group of fellow partners and superiors when her colleagues started talking about porn stars and sex-worker preferences. Feeling out of place, Pao didn’t join the men at a club later that evening. Pao was frequently left out of informal social gatherings, including male-only trips where crucial work-related discussions took place. At venture capital meetings, male partners often spoke over female counterparts or presented their ideas as their own. Pao was one of six junior partners, of which only the male partners received promotions, although they had spent less time at the firm than their female counterparts.

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