Facebook Europe Boss Criticizes Media Coverage of Female Execs

3:12 AM PST 06/25/2014 by Georg Szalai

"When I got my post at Facebook, it was all about how I was a mother of four who had 'won' the position alongside pictures of my wedding," says Nicola Mendelsohn.

LONDON – ‎Nicola Mendelsohn, the head of Facebook's European operations, has criticized media coverage of female top executives, including her own appointment last year as vp of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Speaking at a Fortune conference here, she expressed her frustration about being portrayed in the media as a mother of four kids who "wanted it all," The Guardian reported. ‎She suggested media companies should reconsider the language and focus of stories about appointments of female executives.

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"When I got my post at Facebook, it was all about how I was a mother of four who had 'won' the position alongside pictures of my wedding," The Guardian quoted her as saying. It said that she highlighted that a male executive hired at the same time was covered very differently.

While media reports said she insisted on working part-time, Mendelsohn told the conference that she was working a typical five-day week at Facebook, but she did call for flexible work times.

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"I was never defined by my working hours. I was defined by what I produced," she said, according to The Guardian. "That is what we need, and we need to be respectful of the best way people work."

She also cited Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and her book Lean In, in highlighting ‎"cultural issues holding us back" when it comes to allowing more women to move into top corporate positions, starting with the treatment of children.

"Like Sheryl has said: Little girls are called bossy but boys never are," Mendelsohn said. "Girls are told they can't do maths, they can't build things. Boys are never told they can't do anything."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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