Opinion

'Ban Bossy' creator Sheryl Sandberg continues to push debunked claims

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Hillary Clinton,Ashe Schow,War on Women,Income Inequality,Ban Bossy,Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg continued to push debunked statistics regarding her '‘Ban Bossy' campaign Wednesday night.

Sandberg, speaking with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, not only failed to note that women's choices were the main reason behind issues like the supposed wage gap, but also furthered demonstrably false claims about women and leadership.

Sandberg recounted the story of her rise to prominence, noting that when she started out, there was an equal number of men and women at her level, but all her bosses were men. As she rose through the ranks, she found that “increasingly I was one of the only women in the room, and now often the only woman in the room.”

Of course, based on her Ban Bossy campaign, it’s clear Sandberg believes that the reason for that is not the choices women make in their lives but rampant discrimination.

Sandberg also discussed the supposed wage gap (never once mentioning women’s choices, of course), saying that to close the gap, there needs to be public policy reform and corporations must “have the right policies.”

Because it’s not like the Equal Pay Act doesn’t already exist, or that corporations already have policies to prohibit discrimination. And it’s not like all of that can be ignored because proving gender discrimination is basically impossible (and even disclosing salary information can’t prove that any disparity is due to gender.

Sandberg then began reciting false statistics about women in the workforce.

“Young women come into the workforce, they’re making less than men right out of college and that gap continues,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg's claim comes from an American Association of University Women study that said one year out of college, women were only making 82 cents to the dollar that men made. But that gap was due not to discrimination but degree choices that women made.

Sandberg then claimed, “When men are successful and powerful, they get more liked as they get more successful and more powerful. But when women get successful and powerful, they’re less liked.”

This is laughably false. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arguably one of the most successful and powerful women in the world (regardless of your opinion on her political views), enjoyed a higher favorability rating that President Obama during the time she was a part of his cabinet. Her favorability remained well above 60 percent even as Obama's declined. Since Clinton first became a known entity in 1992, her approval has only dipped below 50 percent only a few times.

And former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's favorability remained higher than that of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at the end of the Bush administration.

Similarly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has the highest approval rating (31 percent, but still) of the four congressional leaders.

On the global scale, Germany's leadership, headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is tied with U.S. leadership, headed by President Obama, in global approval ratings.

So to say that powerful women are less liked is not supported by any evidence.

Moving on to her roundly disregarded Ban Bossy campaign, Sandberg revisited statistics cited by the campaign that were easily debunked.

“Ban Bossy was a really important program with the Girl Scouts, and it's getting to a real critical issue, which is that by middle school, more boys than girls want to lead, and if you ask them why the girls don't want to lead -- because they don't want to be disliked and they don't want to be called bossy,” Sandberg said.

Her first claim came from an early '90s study that was itself was debunked by a 2008 Girl Scouts study, which found that nowadays, more girls than boys want to be leaders by middle school.

Her second claim is misleading because of the 9 percent of girls who said they didn’t want to be a leader, less than one-third (meaning just 3 percent of girls overall) said the reason they didn’t want to be a leader was because they didn’t want to be disliked or called “bossy.” What an epidemic.

And remember that the top reasons those girls said they didn’t want to be leaders was because they had a fear of public speaking or simply weren’t interested.

But Sandberg wasn’t done. She also repeated the claim that “by middle school, parents have higher leadership aspirations for their sons than their daughters, and they talk to their sons differently about their future.”

This claim came from a 1994 study whose author told the Washington Examiner in March that parents were nearly equal in their leadership aspirations for boys and girls (sometimes it was slightly higher for boys, sometimes it was slightly higher for girls.)

Sandberg, in a separate interview with the Huffington Post, further proved that the Ban Bossy campaign was more about assisting Clinton than young girls, giving full endorsement of Clinton for president.

“I'd love to see Hillary Clinton run for president,” Sandberg said. “I'd love to see Hillary Clinton be president.”

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