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Ellen Pao mulls appeal of sex discrimination case vs. Kleiner Perkins

Pao gives her first two in-depth interviews since losing her high-profile case, talking about the impact of the trial, her thoughts on Silicon Valley and whether she'll appeal.

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Ellen Pao is considering an appeal in her high-profile sex discrimination case. Yahoo

Ellen Pao may have lost her high-profile sex discrimination trial against one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firms, but that doesn't mean she's done.

Pao told Yahoo's Global News Anchor Katie Couric in an interview streamed Monday that she's considering an appeal of the decision in her $16 million lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a San Francisco courtroom late last month.

"We're in the midst of making some decisions," Pao said.

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Ellen Pao spoke to Katie Couric about a possible appeal. Yahoo

Couric asked, "About whether you will in fact appeal the case?"

"Yes. And we're not talking about it," Pao responded.

Pao told The Wall Street Journal in a separate interview published Sunday evening that Silicon Valley can no longer hide from workplace sexism.

On that point, she appears to be correct. Pao, 45, has become an icon of growing criticism against Silicon Valley culture. The concern is that the technology industry's largest companies and venture capital firms are run almost exclusively by white men. But lack of diversity isn't the only problem: Critics say women and minorities often encounter discrimination, further perpetuating these issues.

Pao claims she was a victim of such treatment, and her contributions to Kleiner Perkins weren't rewarded in the same way as those of her male counterparts.

A jury of six men and six women rejected Pao's claims of discrimination and retaliation after she was fired from Kleiner Perkins in 2012. The month-long trial captivated the technology industry. Testimony included accusations of a boys club-esque atmosphere at Kleiner Perkins, Pao's unfair treatment as well as her poor job performance during her seven years at the firm, and her affair with a married colleague.

Pao's interviews with The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo are the first time she's spoken publicly since the March 27 conclusion of the trial. At that time, she told reporters and tweeted that her experience cast a spotlight on gender and racial disparities in the tech industry. Pao, through a representative, declined CNET requests for an interview.

When asked by Couric if she has any regrets about suing, Pao said she wanted to force a change in behavior at Kleiner Perkins and other companies as well.

"I think coming out and hearing so much support from so many people, from so many different places, has been rewarding," Pao said.

She told the Journal that women get unfairly criticized in office environments for either being too timid or too aggressive.

"You have this needle that you have to thread, and sometimes it feels like there's no hole in the needle," she said. "From what I've heard from women, they do feel like there's no way to win. They can't be aggressive and get this opportunity without being treated like there's something wrong."

When Couric mentioned two other discrimination suits filed by former employees at Facebook and Twitter who are also Asian-American women, Pao said that race also plays a factor in the mostly white male fabric of Silicon Valley.

Pao said she's heard from men who have claimed similar workplace experiences as her.

"I wish people could just look at each person as an individual, figure out who they are and then let them proceed on their own," Pao said. "But all of these assumptions end up being difficult to overcome and -- if we can get rid of them and just judge people on their own and and their own merits, we'd have a much better place."