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Sheryl Sandberg on Gender Inequality, Women in Tech and Free Speech

Topics: Negotiation

Sheryl Sandberg famously instrumental in Facebook’s success also struck up an important national discussion about gender equality in the workplace. The tech giant’s chief operating officer recently spoke with the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital about what’s changed and what still needs changing after book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” too the world by storm.

Here we present you with a few takeaways from the discussion.

Women are underrepresented in ALL industries.
Nope, it’s not just tech, you guys. Though the percentages vary, women represent the smaller share of virtually every industry, Sandberg tells WSJ.

“Every industry has the same problem,” she says. “The tech industry has one particular challenge, which is more women going into STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields and particularly computer science.”

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If more women got into STEM fields, that would effectively close the skills gap, she adds.

It’s OK to talk about gender inequalities.
If people pretend the whole inequality thing is a non-issue that’s not going to get us anywhere, she says. 

“The specific thing that I want to do is to make it OK to talk about gender in the workplace and educate people on how gender holds us back,” she states.

Facebook won’t censor hate rants.
Though it’s a private company and could monitor comments and speech on the site as it pleases, Facebook’s approach has been more hands-off, Sandberg says. Even if some pages are hateful – to a certain extent.

“There is a tension between creating a safe and protected community, and there is a tension between content which is free expression, and we try to find that line …” she tells the newspaper. 

Pages on Facebook are granted anonymity, she continues. That empowers people. But if one starts espousing hateful rants against women or any other group, Facebook will require them to put a name on it. That move alone has helped quell the hate speech, she says, because it gives others a person to engage with if they want to protest.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What do you think of Sandberg’s thoughts on corporate feminism and women being underrepresented in the professional world? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

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 (Video/Photo Credit: By TechCrunch/Flickr)

Jennifer Wadsworth
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