Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and LeanIn.org today launched #MentorHer, a follow-up to her #LeanIn movement and a response to the #MeToo movement—which she tells Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang (watch below) doesn’t go far nough.
As Sandberg notes in a Facebook post, #MeToo is a cultural watershed moment and people—and companies—must step up, as supported by new research by Lean In and SurveyMonkey:
Long before the #MeToo movement, a lack of mentorship from senior leaders was already a significant barrier for women in the workplace. New numbers indicate that this is getting worse: a recent survey by Lean In and SurveyMonkey revealed that almost half of male managers in the United States are now uncomfortable participating in basic activities with women. Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner alone with a junior woman than with a junior man – and 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel for work alone with a woman.
This is a big problem, because it undoubtedly will decrease the opportunities women have at work. The last thing women need right now is even more isolation. Men vastly outnumber women as managers and senior leaders, so when they avoid, ice out, or exclude women, we pay the price. Men who want to be on the right side of this issue shouldn’t avoid women. They should mentor them.
Today, LeanIn.Org is launching a campaign called #MentorHer. It urges men to step up and use their power to support women in the workplace, with research-backed information for why mentorship matters and tips for how to be an effective mentor to women. People with mentors are more likely to get promotions – yet women are less likely than men to be mentored, and women of color get the least support of all.
If we’re going to change the power imbalance that enables so much sexual harassment in the first place, we need to ensure women get more mentorship and sponsorship, not less. That’s how we get the stretch assignments that lead to promotions. That’s how we build the networks that put us on the path to exciting opportunities. That’s how we get the respect – and recognition – we deserve. …
Right now, so many people are asking what they can do to make workplaces safer for women. That conversation is long overdue. We need to end sexual harassment in all its forms. We need to hold perpetrators accountable – and the enablers who make excuses or look the other way.
But that is not enough. We also need to focus on getting more women into positions of power. A more equal world would be a better world, with stronger companies, economies, and families. And yes, with less sexual harassment, which is less prevalent when women lead. This is the time for more mentorship, more sponsorship – and more men stepping up and working toward equality for everyone.
As she elaborated in a comment:
Women mentoring women is super important and a huge part of what Lean In and Lean In Circles support. Given that women are such a small fraction of leadership jobs in any industry (6% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 20% of the US Congress), it is critical that men as well as women mentor women. We can’t allow this moment to be one where men choose to step back in doing their part to create a more equal and diverse world.
Women – and especially women of color – have always received less support and mentorship than men – and this is part of why women do not obtain leadership roles in close to the same numbers as men. This does not mean that women are not critical as role models and mentors for women – they are. But men have to step up now too.
Below, Sandberg discusses calling on men to mentor women, getting more women in leadership roles and how the culture at Facebook is evolving with the times on Bloomberg TV: