Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said today more needs to be done to address the concerns of the #metoo movement than not sexually harassing women.
“We need a world where women don’t get sexually harassed, full stop, period, but what’s important: That’s not enough, not enough,” she said onstage at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. “We need a world where women, and women of color particularly, get equal opportunity. It is not enough not to harass us. It’s necessary, but not sufficient.”
Sandberg continued to say she’s worried about the potential unintended consequences of #MeToo, and talked about #MentorHer, an initiative began last month by her nonprofit organization LeanIn.org.
Men occupy the majority of management positions, and a LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey survey conducted in January found that twice as many male managers now feel uncomfortable working alone with a woman, a trend that could have a negative impact on women’s careers.
“Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior woman than a junior man, 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel with a junior woman than a junior man. And that is a problem because I remember when I published Lean In 5 years ago, one of the most common responses I got from senior men was ‘You’re right, I take the man out for drinks, not the woman; I spend time with the man, not the woman; and that is the informal and formal mentoring time that women are not getting.’”
The result, she said, leads to a disproportionate number of men in leadership roles compared to women.
Men and women deserve equal access to that informal mentorship from managers, so if you don’t have dinner with junior woman, don’t have dinners with junior men either, Sandberg suggested. She brought the same message to a Morgan Stanley conference for investors and people in the tech and telecom industries earlier this week.
Well-known leaders in tech who have taken the #MentorHer pledge include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
Policy changes can positively affect trends of sexual harassment and inequality, but so can culture, she said, and that’s a good thing, because “the good news is when it’s cultural, it means you can change it.”
“Culture does change, and culture has to change, it has to,” she said pointing to studies that have found that more diverse organizations produce better results. “I’m sure with every movement and every movement towards a following there are lifting, inspiring moments and moments when it feels impossible. But we have no choice but to change.”
In the home, more needs to be done as well, she said, since women in heterosexual relationships traditionally do 30-40 percent more of the child rearing and chores around the house.
“If you want to know what’s holding women back in the workplace, that’s a big chunk of it too, right? Because women have two jobs and men have one,” Sandberg said.
This is less of a problem for gay or lesbian couples, who tend to share chores more evenly.
“As a woman, you’re much better off with a woman,” she said.
Sandberg spoke today with Recode editor Kara Swisher at Lesbians Who Tech, a conference attended by more than 5,000 people in San Francisco’s Castro District.