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Ellen Pao shifted hiring practices at Reddit to improve diversity

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Just because Pao's trial is over, doesn't mean gender discrimination is

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Ellen Pao's recent trial in Silicon Valley may have brought gender discrimination to the forefront of public consciousness (at least for a few months, and in certain circles), but its conclusion didn't mean the end of Silicon Valley's subtly ingrained sexism. Now, about a week after a judge found Pao's former employer Kleiner Perkins not liable for her claims of gender bias, she has begun to speak publicly about what else can be done to fight discrimination.

Potential employees are asked what they think of diversity

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pao disclosed how, as the current interim CEO of Reddit, she has made changes to the company's hiring process to account for gender and racial disparities. Pao says she has removed salary negotiations from the hiring process on the grounds that women are statistically less likely to fare well during such negotiations. Pao also recently asked diversity consultant Freada Kapor Klein to give a talk at Reddit, and she makes a point to ask potential hires their opinion on diversity in the workplace.

"We ask people what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that," she told WSJ.

Pao became the interim CEO of Reddit last year on the heels of a massive executive upheaval. Former CEO Yishan Wong resigned over a disagreement about office space and formerly departed co-founder Alexis Ohanian returned as executive chairman. Pao told WSJ she hopes to stay on as Reddit CEO after the one-year interim period ends this November.

In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Pao said of Reddit, "We've got a lot of diversity in our team — we could have more — but we're very excited to make sure we have different perspectives to represent people who actually look at the site."

During Pao's reign, the company has taken several steps, both internally and on the site itself, to create a safer, more open environment. This past February, Reddit imposed new restrictions on explicit content, saying users could no longer post nude photos or images of sex acts without the subjects' consent.

"We've got a lot of diversity in our team — we could have more."

The Kleiner Perkins trial last month, during which Pao was described as both too timid and too aggressive, raised issues of the implicit ways in which sexism affects women's opportunities at work, especially in male-dominated fields like tech and finance. The trial highlighted the difficulty of proving that subtle sexism exists, and, after the decision in Kleiner Perkins' favor, jurors admitted there was no talk of the broader significance of the trial in Silicon Valley.

"You need to work through these issues," Pao told WSJ. "Because they are here and they’re not going to go away."