Sandberg plays down reports of Facebook epayment plans

Wednesday 16 April 2014 20.00
Sheryl Sandberg was in Dublin to promote a new edition of her book 'Lean-In'
Sheryl Sandberg was in Dublin to promote a new edition of her book 'Lean-In'

The chief operating officer of Facebook has played down reports that the company is planning to set up a new e-money payment service based out of Ireland. 

Sheryl Sandberg said Facebook already has a payments business in place as part of the ecosystem around developers and has no new plans on that front at this time. 

She was speaking in an exclusive interview with RTÉ News during a visit to Dublin to promote her book ‘Lean-In’, which is a guide to help women achieve more in their careers. 

The book has already sold nearly 2 million copies around the world, has been translated into 30 languages and has led to the setting up of 16,000 ‘Lean-In circles’ around the world. 

The Lean-In foundation, which Sandberg set up, has just published a new version of the book for graduates. 

Sheryl Sandberg told RTÉ News this was because one of most common things a woman or man had been asking them was, “how do I lean in, how do I find a job - particularly in a hard economy, how do I negotiate for myself, especially if I am a woman? So this version answers those questions using experts,” she said.

Ms Sandberg, who is considered one of the most powerful women in the world, said in order for women to achieve equality in the workplace they have to overcome all barriers, including those put in place by employers, men and women themselves.

She said there are structural issues impeding women all over the world, like childcare costs, which are really high in Ireland and everywhere. 

There are issues on public policy too, she said, like governments that guarantee maternity but not paternity leave. There are also policy issues in companies, like flexi-time and what happens to women, particularly when they become mothers. 

We have broad descriptions based on stereotypes that we all hold, she said, and women internalise them and hold themselves back. 

So all those things have to change, she claimed. 

But she said that if even one thing changes, it can help get more women into leadership positions.

Lean-In has attracted criticism from some who say Ms Sandberg, as a billionaire, has access to resources that others do not when it comes to taking care of her family. 

However the Facebook COO said she knows that she has resources that others do not have and with those resources comes the obligation to speak out for other women. 

She said the principles of ‘Lean-In’ are about equality and that is the same for everyone. 

As a result, she said, she has seen Lean-In broadly used by many different kinds of people from many different kinds of backgrounds. 

Because of her strong and successful campaigning skills, Ms Sandberg has been linked with a potential run for political office. 

However, she said she was not considering that as she thinks it is really important to have senior women in business and really loves her job.

Asked whether the tech industry is better than others when it comes to promoting equality for women, Ms Sandberg said the challenge is in every industry and every country because people do not expect, support or encourage women to lead.

She said the most important thing employers can do is to have policies in place that support women, particularly through the child rearing years. 

They can also understand and surface bias, she added.