"The newly installed boss of Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT - news) has come under fire for telling women they do not need to ask for pay rises, relying instead on "karma".
The comments were made by CEO Satya Nadella while he was speaking in Arizona at an event for women in computing.
Mr Nadella was asked to give his advice to women who are uncomfortable requesting a salary raise.
He replied that women should have faith that the system will give them the right raises as they go along.
"It's not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along," Mr Nadella told the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
"Because that's good karma... It'll come back because somebody's going to know that's the kind of person that I want to trust."
The comments by India-born Mr Nadella, who has a remuneration package of around $7m (£4.3m), sparked a torrent of criticism on social media.
"Truly horrified that Satya Nadella could tell women at Grace Hopper not to ask for raises," tweeted Julie Bort.
"Wow Microsoft, That's a new low for you," Isik Mater tweeted in response.
"I'll wait for Karma to lower my #xboxlive price too," tweeted Chuck Granade.
Several hours after his comments, Mr Nadella tried to patch up the damage on Twitter (Xetra:A1W6XZ - news) .
"Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise," he tweeted.
"Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias."
Microsoft also posted an all-staff memo from the CEO on its website.
In it, Mr Nadella said he answered the question posed by interviewee Maria Klawe "completely wrong".
"Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programmes at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap," Mr Nadella wrote.
"I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work.
"And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria's advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask."
Mr Nadella's remarks at the Grace Hopper conference have the potential to harm both sales of Microsoft products and the appeal for female tech workers in Silicon Valley to work for the IT giant.
Of more than 100,000 employees at Microsoft, only 29% are female, according to data released by the firm recently.
The controversy comes just days after reports of the deteriorating relationship between Microsoft founder Bill Gates and its former CEO Steve Ballmer." http://uk.news.yahoo.com/microsoft-ceo-links-womens-pay-074901940.html#SuAqGAG
It's fascinating how easily outrage and offense is sparked when public figures make comments about how people should live their lives and how people should look at things, like in this case where Microsoft's CEO brought his 'personal beliefs' involving Karma into an issue, suggesting how women should 'have faith' that they'll get a raise, because I guess 'karma' will somehow help you get a raise if you are good at your job.
Mr. Nadella's beliefs and public position aside, how many people in this world can self honestly say that they don't justify another's limitation or unequal treatment, through some form of belief or opinion?
How about poverty? How about the fact that those of us with jobs and lives of our own, pretty much are unaffected by the fact billions of people live on less than $2 dollars a day around the world? I mean, we all know there are people around the world that spend MOST of their time working, trying to survive, getting paid almost nothing. What about their Equal Pay? Is it okay for someone to exist in poverty even though they spend most of their time working, just because they don't have a master's degree and don't work for some big important company? Who made up that rule? God? Nature? Doesn't the fact that we can spend an entire lifetime prioritizing our entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, hobbies, vacations, weddings, families, above solutions to bring people out of horrific conditions of poverty, indicate that we are, each and every second of each and every day justifying the existence of such conditions, using our personal beliefs and opinions?
'It's still a developing country'
'It's god's plan'
'It's because they don't want to change their condition'
'It's just part of life'
'There's nothing I can do'
'My happiness is what's important'
How many times have you or someone you know talked about Karma, or God, or 'the Universe', or 'Evolution', or whatever the hell other form of 'higher power' or 'behind the scenes forces' you can come up with, and told yourself that this or that event or experience happened as a result of this apparent 'force'?
How much more suffering do we have to allow to happen before we'll finally be outraged at ourselves and what we've allowed in the name of protecting our own self interests and beliefs?
We're a long way from sorting out all the inequality that is allowed on Earth. It's going to take Self Honesty.