'If We Don't Shine A Light On Inequities, Things Will Not Change'

A San Francisco court, a jury of 6 men and 6 women, ruled against Ellen Pao in her gender-discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the most prominent venture-capital firms in the tech industry. 

Pao, now the interim CEO of Redditwas suing the firm, where she was a junior partner, for discriminating against her in the course of her employment and eventual dismissal. Pap claimed that the firm failed to promote her based on her gender and then fired her in retaliation when she sent a letter stating her concerns. She filed the suit in 2012 and it went to trail in February of this year. The case was highly publicized and one of the highest-profile lawsuits of the moment in Silicon Valley. 

After the verdict, Pao posted a series of optimistic tweets.

The verdict wasn't a total loss for women. 
The case succeeded in prompting discussion about women 
in technology and bringing certain inequalities and diversity issues to light. 

With women representing less than 10 percent of venture capitalists, and leaving the industry at twice the rate of men, (according to the Kauffman Foundation), there is obviously a lot of gender discrimination in the tech and venture-capital industries. The verdict wasn't a total loss for women. Fortune.com reached out to 15 young women at venture capital and tech firms to find out what emotions and conversations were being stirred by Pao's case. Most didn’t respond but 4 did. I found their answers to be really interesting. Here’s what these four women said was being discussed in their offices.

1. Most men and women support Pao, but are afraid to publicly say so.
One woman said "A lot of them don’t want to say anything negative about Kleiner Perkins in case they might want to take money from them in the future, but their personal opinion that they hold tends to go toward Ellen Pao,” 

2. People were curious as to how the witnesses’ testimonies would impact their careers. They were wondering who would testify and if it would ruin their careers.

3.  There was a discussion about whether Pao’s case would result in fewer venture-capital firms hiring or promoting women. A woman named  Erika Brown Ekiel, a former director of marketing at Greylock Partners, claimed to have been told by a VC that he would be less likely to hire a female partner if Kleiner loses the case.

4. The case would encourage more women to speak up. Pao’s case seems to have empowered other women in tech to speak out against gender bias. Just weeks after Pao’s trial started, former employees of Facebook and Twitter filed their own suits alleging gender discrimination.

5. Some men are more sensitive to gender issues as a result of the case. One of the women said that one of her former bosses – a white male — invited her to lunch to seek her advice.

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