'It's the power'

Sheryl Sandberg warns of backlash against women in the workplace over #MeToo movement

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg . (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has spoken out about her own experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace and cautioned against a backlash against women over what the #MeToo movement has exposed about the American workplace.

In a lengthy post on her Facebook page, Sandberg says she’s lucky that, at the age of 48, she’s never been subjected to sexual harassment by her bosses, all of whom have been men. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been objectified and groped in work atmospheres.

“Still, like almost every woman — and some men — I know, I have experienced sexual harassment in the form of unwanted sexual advances in the course of doing my job,” Sandberg said in the post. “A hand on my leg under the table at a meeting. Married men — all decades older than I — offering ‘career advice’ and then suggesting that they could share it with me alone late at night. The conference where a man I declined leaving a dinner with came to my hotel room late at night and banged on my door until I called security.”

Sandberg said that as her career trajectory has taken her upward, these sorts of encounters have occurred less frequently, but she was clear about what the motive underlying those experiences is. “I didn’t work for any of these men. But in every single one of these situations, they had more power than I did. That’s not a coincidence. It’s why they felt free to cross that line.”

Sandberg, playing on a 1992 presidential election slogan that cut to the heart of what was motivating voters, issued her own slogan to keep in mind when considering women’s experiences in the workplace: “It’s the power, stupid.”

She also worried that the #MeToo campaign could spark negative and unintended consequences for women in the workplace.

“I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women,’” Sandberg wrote. “Actually, this is why you should. And you shouldn’t just hire women — you should mentor, advise, and promote them.”

Read her full post below.


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