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Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg warns of a “Me Too” backlash against women at work

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg warns of a “Me Too” backlash against women at work
[Photo: flickr user JD Lasica]

This is why we can’t have nice things. In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, Sheryl Sandberg is worried that there might be a backlash–against women.

The Facebook COO posted a lengthy message on Facebook (natch), where she waded into the tidal wave of sexual harassment and assault accusations that have captured headlines lately. In her post, Sandberg wrote about her own experiences with harassment, including “a hand on my leg under the table at a meeting,” married men offering “career advice” “alone late at night” and, most alarming, a man at a conference who came to her hotel room late at night and banged on her door until she called security. So Sandberg, too, is ready for a change:

“Sexual harassment has been tolerated for far too long in the halls of government and companies large and small. For the first time in my professional life, it feels like people are finally prepared to hold perpetrators responsible. I’m cheering.”

That said, she is also worried about workplace repercussions that could limit the opportunities women have in their careers. “I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women,'” she wrote. “Actually, this is why you should.”

“We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behavior and protect everyone,” she wrote, noting that in her book, Lean In, a majority of senior male managers told her they were afraid to be alone with a female colleague, over fear of sexual harassment accusations. “Doing right by women in the workplace does not just mean treating them with respect. It also means not isolating or ignoring them,” Sandberg wrote, encouraging men not to “just hire women,” but to “mentor, advise, and promote them,” too.

For Sandberg, it’s a way to make “a stronger, more equitable workplace culture,” and who doesn’t want that? Check out the full post on Facebook here.ML