Facebook Executive: 'There Is a Toddler Wage Gap in This Country'

By Susan Jones | March 6, 2015 | 8:29am EST

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book has spawned a growing social movement.

(CNSNews.com) - Workplace inequality begins early and it begins at home, says Sheryl Sandberg, the woman who works as Facebook's chief operating officer.

"There is a toddler wage gap in this country. Toddlers. Toddlers! In our homes, boys do fewer chores than girls and get paid more," Sandberg told Fox News's Megyn Kelly in an interview that aired on Thursday night.

"And for any woman who's in the workforce, that feels pretty familiar. Our sons take out the trash, doesn't take that long to take out the trash. Our daughters set the table, takes longer."

Sandberg authored a book titled "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead," which became a social movement dubbed "Lean In" -- and now has morphed into "Lean In Together," a campaign that enlists men, including NBA stars, to lobby for women's equality.

According to Sandberg, "Most parents by junior high have higher leadership aspirations for their sons than their daughter and they don't even realize it. Leadership is a skill. And care-giving is a skill. So we need to teach our daughters to lead, to look in the eye, to shake hands. And we need to tell our sons -- one of our tips, we have tips as part of this campaign...one of our tips is, don't tell your son to man up."

Sandberg said her partnership with the NBA makes the point that "strong men" can play center court -- "and they can play sensitive, too."

The LeanInTogether website offers "Practical everyday steps you can take to support your partner and children" at home, such as sharing household chores 50-50; and "Strategies for pushing back against gender bias in the office," such as "giving women credit."

Sandberg pointed to a new report from the International Monetary Fund: "So we know that the new IMF report came out -- if we got women into the work force at the same level of men, our GDP would grow by 5 percent. We haven't seen that kind of growth for a long time.

"From an individual man's perspective, if you work better with half the population, you're going to outperform your peers, so it's good for your career. On the home front, couples that share responsibility 50/50 are happier, lower divorce, more sex. Chore play is real...Don't buy flowers. Do laundry."

Sandberg noted that even in households with two working parents, women do 30 to 40 percent more housework and child care: "They have two or three jobs, their husbands have one."

She said children are "healthier, happier and do better in school and at work" when fathers take a more active role in their lives: "And it's not what you say. It's what you do. There's a new study out -- by age 14, girls with fathers who do household chores have broader career aspirations than daughters who don't see their fathers doing anything in the home. So any amount of, 'Darling, you can do anything' is not as good as washing a dish."

Sandberg's "LeanInTogether" campaign identifies women as suffering from the "Likeability Penalty," which is defined as successful women being liked less:

"When a man is successful, his peers often like him more; when a woman is successful, both men and women often like her less. This trade-off between success and likeability creates a double-bind for women. If a woman is competent she does not seem nice enough, but if a woman seems really nice, she is considered less competent. This can have a big impact on a woman's career."

Male workplace managers are urged to "Listen for the language of the likeability penalty, particularly when making hiring decisions and evaluating performance.

"When you hear biased language—such as 'bossy,' 'pushy,' and 'shrill'—request a specific example of what the woman did and then ask, “Would you have the same reaction if a man did the same thing?” In many cases, the answer will be no. Remember that you can fall into the same bias traps, so think carefully about your own response to female coworkers."

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