At the end of her 45-minute interview Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, when it was time to open up the session for questions from the audience, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg asked the moderator if she could steal the final minute to “answer a question that you didn’t ask.”
Sandberg, the author of Lean In and founder of Leanin.org, then proceeded to discuss the effects of the #MeToo movement on professional women. Citing statistics from a recent Lean In-commissioned study, she said that a large number of men feel less comfortable participating in “basic work activities” with their female colleagues and are more likely to hesitate about having a work dinner with or traveling for business with a woman.
“Even before #MeToo, women are much less likely to get mentored than men,” Sandberg continued. Though she called the #MeToo movement an “incredible moment in time,” she also explained that there are “risks.”
The exec asked the attendees at the session, primarily investors and business leaders, to “make sure your firm access is equal.”
“Not harassing us is important but basic,” she ended the talk by saying. “We need more. We need an equal share of time and attention that gets women into the roles they need.”
Sandberg attended the conference with Facebook CFO David Wehner. They fielded questions about a range of topics, including the changes Facebook is making to its platform to make it a more meaningful experience for its billions of users.
“To say that 2017 was a challenging year feels like a bit of an understatement from where we sit,” Sandberg acknowledged at the start of the interview. “This year will continue to be a challenging year.”
When asked about the decline in daily active users in North America last quarter (down from 185 million to 184 million), Wehner responded, “This is a trend that we don’t see continuing on an ongoing basis” and explained the change as the result of Facebook’s “level of penetration” in the region.