Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has some strong words about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In a Facebook post published Sunday, Sandberg suggested that power is the main culprit, claiming “It’s the power, stupid,” a riff on the popular phrase from the 1992 presidential race “It’s the economy, stupid.”
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Sandberg detailed some of her own experiences with unwanted sexual advances, noting that in each one the men had more power than she did. “That’s not a coincidence,” she continued. “It’s why they felt free to cross the line.”
Yet while Sandberg says that “almost every woman” and some men she knows have experienced sexual harassment, she feels that a critical moment is upon us. “For the first time in my professional life, it feels like people are finally prepared to hold perpetrators responsible,” Sandberg wrote.
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However, Sandberg argues that speaking up, sharing stories, and cheering for those who do is not adequate to make real changes. She says, “We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behavior and protect everyone.” She suggests that workplaces must “start with clear principles” and then “institute policies to support them.”
Ultimately, however, Sandberg hopes that we can create “more equitable workplace culture that treats women with more respect and affords them more opportunities.” More women in power might not solve all the problems, but she believes “we could get quite a lot of good done.” And that, she notes, “would be a major step in the right direction.”