Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claims the negative media coverage of CEO Marissa Mayer and her decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo! centered on the fact that she is a woman.
While delivering a lecture at Stanford University on Tuesday night to promote her memoir “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg claimed that in similar situations, the media did not pounce on male executives.
“It is really hard to know what is happening at Yahoo,” Sandberg said. “There have been no public statements. But the scrutiny, the media firestorm, is about her being a woman. Full stop. Best Buy did the same thing. When it's a man, no one pays attention."
Mayer, who built a nursery beside her office to care for her newborn son, was criticized after she announced in February that Yahoo! would be bringing their work-at-home employees back into the office by June 1. The Yahoo! staff memo ordering the change stated, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home... We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly announced in March that it will no longer allow employees to telecommute. The electronic giant also suffered financially over the years. Best Buy Matt Furman said, “Bottom line, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”
Mayer, 37, joined the “Lean In” movement two weeks ago, writing a letter about the risk she took in leaving Google and joining the struggling Yahoo! while pregnant.
At the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, Sandberg’s book is all about women leaning in and embracing career hurdles instead of putting off changes that could interrupt their home lives.
A woman was fired recently after tweeting a picture of two men at PyCon and admonishing them for using tech terms "in a sexual way."
Adria Richards has been let go from her job as "developer evangelist" at SendGrid, a Colorado based email-delivery company, according to VentureBeat.
Richards overheard two men behind her at a Santa Clara, Calif., conference using tech terms like "dongles" and "forking" in a sexually suggestive fashion. She took a picture of the men and then tweeted it writing, "Not cool. Jokes about forking repo's in a sexual way and 'big' dongles. Right behind me #pycon [photo]".
A backlash followed in which Richards became the target of death and rape threats, racial slurs like the N-word, service attacks on her website and SendGrid’s website, and, maybe the most damaging, the doxxing of her personal information on the web. Attackers are allegedly 4chan members and some claiming to belong to Anonymous.
SendGrid did not return phone calls from San Jose Mercury News on this matter, nor did Richards return phone calls, tweets, or messages.
Richards allegedly decided to tweet the picture after the men made numerous inappropriate comments. She also tweeted her location in the ballroom, and asked if someone could speak to the men about their conduct.
She then met with PyCon staffers and the men were escorted from the ballroom. PyCon later tweeted back to her, “Thank you @adriarichards for bringing the inappropriate comments to our attention. We’ve dealt with the situation.”
Some tweets were supportive of Richards, while others referenced a photo posted of a gory, beheaded woman, implying that she could or should be raped and murdered.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, has expressed that she is an ally for Marissa Mayer after she made the controversial order for employees to work in the office.
In an article published about Sandberg’s first book, she said Mayer is “a sort of feminist manifesto” and suggested that people are critical of her because she is a woman.
Mayer released the controversial memo last month, which forbid employees from working at home.
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home...we need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together,” the memo said.
Employees expressed frustration with the memo, and criticized Mayer for building a nursery adjoining her office, a luxury most of her workers can’t afford to have.
Sandberg, also a mother, said she approved of Mayer’s decision.
“No one knows what happened there. I think flexibility is important for women and for men. But there are some jobs that are superflexible and some that aren’t,” she said.
In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead, will be published next week, and is classified as a memoir offering career guidance to women. She said women are able to succeed in the corporate world by having good fortune, working hard and getting help from other people. But she emphasizes that women need to be more ambitious.
The book incorporates many of Sandberg’s experiences as she climbed the corporate ladder, first working at Google and then at Facebook. She is now one of the most powerful women in the tech industry.
She recounted an experience where a group of all-male financiers could not even tell her where the female toilet was because no one had ever asked for it.
“Am I the only woman to have pitched a deal here in an entire year?” she asked them.
The client said, “I think so, or maybe you’re the only one who had to use the bathroom.”
The key advice in the story is to not “lean back” when it comes to living life, but to “lean in” and give 100% in every area of life.
“When it comes to ambition to lead...men, boys, outnumber girls and women. Women attribute their success to working hard, luck, and help from other people. Men will attribute whatever success they have to their own core skills,” she said.