January 28 2013
by Christiana Lilly
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has caused a bit of a stir with a statement she made suggesting employers should be allowed to ask in job interviews if a woman is planning to have children.
According to Fox News, Sandberg, 43 and a mother of two, reportedly raised the issue at the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland during a session on how to further women's roles in economic decision-making.
“Employers should be allowed to ask women about plans for children,” she reportedly said. “Every HR department tells you not to do that, but we need to have a much more open conversation.”
Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, told Fox & Friends that maternity leave does take an “economic cost” on a business.
Jolynn Shoemaker, director of Women in International Security, suggested that asking about family planning in an interview is still “misguided," given efforts to prevent gender discrimination. But she added that she agrees with Sandberg that there should be a more open dialogue between employers and employees.
“We fought a lot of these battles in the 70s and 80s to prevent gender discrimination and we don’t want to walk back on that,” Shoemaker said. “What we want to think about is more innovative ways and safe spaces to have the conversations that we need to have between employees and employers about these issues.”