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Episode 2

Men, ask us anything–with Sheryl Sandberg


Sheryl Sandberg, Phoebe Robinson, Joanna Coles, and Sean Fennessey

About this Episode

This week, Sheryl Sandberg, Phoebe Robinson, and Joanna Coles join moderator Sean Fennessey of The Ringer to answer questions submitted by men. They cover topics like what kind of sex jokes are appropriate to make at work (spoiler: none), why being liked is actually kind of overrated, and why you shouldn’t assume a five-foot-tall woman can’t carry a fully grown man out of a burning building.

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Rachel Thomas: Welcome to Tilted, a Lean In Podcast. Each week will explore the uneven playing field, the gender bias that lurks in unexpected corners, the impact it has on our everyday lives and what happens when we lean in and start driving change. I'm your host Rachel Thomas.

So it turns out when you run a large women's organization, men want to ask you things. Sheryl and I always joke about this. You'll be having a long dinner with friends, we'll have some drinks and men let their guard down and feel more comfortable talking about gender, which can be a hard thing to do. And that's the spirit of this episode which we're calling, “Men, Ask Us Anything”...minus the alcohol. We want to give men straight, no holds barred answers to whatever's on their minds.

Let's meet the women with the answers. We have Joanna Coles, the author of Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World and the former Editor in Chief of Cosmo magazine and Chief Content Officer for Hearst.

Joanna Coles: Diversity in leadership is absolutely essential.

Rachel Thomas: Phoebe Robinson, the host of two popular podcasts “2 Dope Queens” and “Sooo Many White Guys” and the author of Everything’s Trash, But It's Okay, which comes out today.

Phoebe Robinson: I think a lot of times people go, “well, I hired one woman of color. Job done.”

Rachel Thomas: Our very own Sheryl Sandberg, the Founder of Lean In and COO of Facebook.

Sheryl Sandberg: It's not enough to not harass us and not grab us. You can't ignore us either.

Rachel Thomas: And last but certainly not least we have Sean Fennessy, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Officer at The Ringer serving as the voice of men today. So I'm going to pass the baton to Sean to moderate today's discussion.

Sean Fennessey: Ladies, I'm delighted to be here with you. Thank you for joining me. So let's start with the first question which comes from Steve E. Steve asks, “We spend so much time at work and that's where a lot of people meet their partners. I'm terrified that someone could misinterpret something and ruin my life. When does banter become inappropriate and how do I know where the line is?”

Sheryl Sandberg: We all know that #MeToo has shown us what we already knew, which is that things have been happening for very long times in workplaces that have absolutely no place and shouldn't happen and we need to ban those things entirely. That said, there are unintended consequences that can happen and if people are so stilted at work that they can't have conversations with each other and joke around, that will be a loss for all of us. And so what I want to say to this question is, we all know what respectful behavior is. We all know what an inappropriate joke is, but not being able to smile at a colleague, that's taken us too far.

Joanna Coles: I disagree. I don't think we do all know and I think that's what the #MeToo movement has revealed - that actually men think one thing is okay, like sometimes whipping their penises out on the desk.


Joanna Coles: Well we know that that’s not okay, but I think that some people think banter is fine. And I would suggest to Steve E. the product manager from London, [that] he really pay attention to the reaction from the people he's bantering with because that will give you a huge clue as to whether or not they want to continue with this and in so much of the #MeToo conversation, you hear women repeatedly saying, “I don't like this. I don't want to do this. Please stop.” And that's what the men ride over, cause they think that somehow possibly because it's reinforced in popular culture incredibly effectively, that actually women just need to be pushed to the moment where they will suddenly acquiesce.

Phoebe Robinson: I’m also kind of like, “If you don't know how to interact with a woman without flirting with her, then that's a massive problem that you have to deal with because it's like you're not able to see a woman as anything other than someone you're trying to seduce or have, you know, a sexual relationship with. So I think, yes, you do spill out of time at work, and you know, I work in comedy where there is no HR so to speak, but I don't know. I just think there's sort of like common sense things that you can do and I hate when people are like, “Well, think about like if that was your sister.” Because it's like you should be able to deal without having to make it personal for you to understand - that like oh, I shouldn't make a joke about the way someone looks in their shirt or something or flirt with them in that sort of icky way so I don't know. I just think you have to, be able to, with men whether it's like, “Hey sweetie”. Like even that sort of thing where it's like overly familiar right away where it's like, “Well, I'm not your sweetie.”

Rachel Thomas: You know the difference between hugging your mom and hugging your girlfriend.

Phoebe Robinson: Yeah. Exactly.

Sean Fennessey: What are some of the other common sense things? You said there are common sense things that we can do.

Sheryl Sandberg: Yeah let's try to make this more practical. Ready? You want some tips? No jokes about sex. That's an easy one. This happened early in my career. I took an overnight flight to Europe. You know I was in seat 30 next to a man who was more senior. He was, you know, 30E. And when he was asked at our office in Europe the next day, “How was your flight?” He said, “Oh it was great, I slept with Sheryl.”

Phoebe Robinson: Noooo!

Sheryl Sandberg: So you want a common sense thing? Jokes are okay. Joke about someone's dog. Joke about the fact that you went on a long run that morning, but don't make jokes about sex. Touching people - we know what touching is appropriate. We shake hands. That's appropriate. Grabbing someone by the small of their back. It's not. I think obviously there are nuances and Joanna is right that not everyone knows every rule, but I really agree that most of this stuff is common sense. And as Joanna said, watching people's reaction.

Joanna Coles: I think I've had that joke made many times about the fight and I've never thought about it until now. And I think that it's a brilliant point. And I also think that women are used to, we are conditioned to make men feel comfortable. So when they do something to us and we don't feel comfortable, we are not able to take a beat and actually make them uncomfortable. And I think every now and then we have to be prepared to do that. And you can also say to someone, “I don't feel comfortable when you have your hand in the small of my back.” We just have to be able to say it and then that there may be a bit of an awkward silence. And we have to ride through it.

Sean Fennessey: In Steve's question, he uses the phrase, “ruin my life,” which is something that I feel like I'm hearing more and more from men in the workplace. There is a concern that if you do the wrong thing, things will go terribly awry. Is there any part of this in which there will be some sort of boomerang effect here where people will actually remove themselves from making personal connections with people in the workplace and then there will be something lost?

Sheryl Sandberg: We were worried about this and when #MeToo came out, Lean In did a survey with Survey Monkey and what it showed that is almost half of managers in the U.S. who are male are afraid to do common work activities with women including having a one on one meeting.

Phoebe Robinson: But that’s a cop-out.

Sheryl Sandberg: That's exactly what I'm saying. So a senior man right now is three and a half times more likely to be afraid to have a work dinner with a female colleague than a male colleague and five times more likely to be worried about traveling with a female colleague than a male colleague. And I agree that's a cop-out because it's not enough to not harass us and not grab us. You can't ignore us either so if the unintended consequences is men get to go to all the dinners and men get to take all the trips. Those are the dinners and trips where connections are made, where context is learned, where people get the promotion. And so we have to be able to have dinner together, you know, and behave appropriately. Work travel is a fact of life and junior female colleagues need to be able to travel as well as junior male colleagues. And we need to make sure that the men listening and others, understand that their obligation is not just to pull back to make sure nothing bad happens but actually to keep leaning in to make sure that they are mentoring and sponsoring women and always behaving appropriately.

Phoebe Robinson: I also feel like this this whole thing of like, “this is gonna rule my life”, where, “I'm scared to like ask a woman out,” now, I'm just like, “Get a fucking grip.” Because there's such an overreaction to...the thesis is, you can't sexually harass me or assault me at work. That is basically all #MeToo is saying. And now there are some men who are like, “Oh my God. Well, what about me? I'm going to be so harmed by this.” And it's just…

Rachel Thomas: No you’re not if you do the right thing.

Phoebe Robinson: Right. And it's so like “how did this now become about like your male fragility?” which is I just...I just can't entertain.

Joanna Coles: And this goes beyond just one-on-one conversations. It relates to text. It relates to e-mails. I have a colleague that used to send porn to people and it would crop up in the middle of e-mails. You don’t want to be doing that. It’s pathetic.

Sean Fennessey: And Sheryl pointed something out that is interesting. Those one-on-one dinners that do happen are sort of vitally important and that's where a lot of relationships are formed. That's where a lot of business gets done. And I do think that there is a little bit of a pulling back in terms of, “well, that may not be appropriate anymore.” If you even–Phoebe, in your workplace is there something happening where men and women are not necessarily interacting the way that they once did?

Phoebe Robinson: You know, I feel like with 2 Dope Queens with Jessica and I, we really were able to say, “We're going to run our own show and curate it.” And we have a strict no a––holes policy, no creepy people policy and honestly, the last three years that we've done it we've never had one bad situation because we're just like if we even hear a whiff of someone being like sketchy or whatever we won't even entertain them at all. So I think that we've been very lucky to be able to do that. I see a lot of that happening where people think, I'm going to create something that can be charged up and hopefully that will get rid of a lot of the sort of icky sexual inappropriateness that is happening.

Sean Fennessey: Joanna, did you have a “no sketchy people policy” in all the places you've worked?

Joanna Coles: I did but it didn't always work actually. I mean I would always having to deal with sketchy people. Clearly the more women you have in senior leadership the less problem we have. Doesn't mean you don't have any problem, but it’s why diversity in leadership is absolutely essential. These old male tropes can no longer hold.

Rachel Thomas: And just to be really clear - probably everyone at the table already knows this but that's not anecdotal. I mean that's research-based. The more women in organizations, the safer they are and the better results they produce. So a big part of this is just getting more women into leadership. So we change the power dynamic because ultimately this is about power. It's not about sex.

Joanna: Right and not abusing power.

Sean Fennessey: Let's do another question. This comes from Dave who is a brand manager in St. Louis. Joanna, I’m gonna to throw this one to you. Dave writes, “It's subtle but I've noticed my boss can be a jerk to the women on my team. Can I do anything to help them without getting on his bad side?”

Joanna Coles: Yes and I bet that the boss is also a bit of a jerk to men too because jerks often are equal opportunity jerks and they'll just be jerks. And so it's a really good and complicated question–how do you improve the behavior of your boss? I think one of the things men can do is reinforce women's points at the table. We know men interrupt women more than–well, we all interrupt women it turns out. Although we’re not interrupting much here.

[Sheryl jokingly interrupts Joanna and there’s laughter]

I think reinforcing women's points around the table is really helpful. I think if you have a difficult boss and you don't want to confront them head on asking them questions as a young man or a young or junior man in the hierarchy cause this is really what this is about - the nuances of power. Asking them questions. For a man to be able to say, “You know, I felt a bit uncomfortable about that meeting when I was thinking back through it. Did you feel that Sophie got to make all her points?”

Sheryl Sandberg: And interrupting the interrupters. “Hey I really want to hear what Rachel had to say.” Giving women credit. It's great to make a big deal of it but if you're not willing to do that and sometimes you know it's hard if you're a junior man. You could say, “You know what, that's a great idea and I really want everyone to know, that was Rachel’s.”

Joanna Coles: And I think how you start a meeting becomes incredibly important. And what it turns out is that if everybody - and all research shows this - if everybody at the meeting gets to say something, everybody leaves with a very different energy than if only a few people end up talking. So one of the things that you can do as a junior manager is to suggest that you get the energy around the table going by asking everybody a question. And it could be as simple as, “What's your favorite team?”, “What did you watch on telly last night?”, “What is everybody feeling good about the company this week?”, “What is everybody worried about?” Everybody has an opportunity to say something and be heard. And weirdly it empowers people in the room. Everybody's voice is physically heard and it puts the boss on a little bit more notice. It's an incredibly effective, really useful thing to try.

Sean Fennessy: I think that some men are probably concerned that if they are attempting to correct their male boss in a setting like that that they'll somehow be excommunicated.

Joanna Coles: Okay, I have another very practical suggestion for this: reference other really senior men. So when I used to try and get a point across, and I knew that nobody was listening to it from me, I would pick someone I knew was one of their heroes. Whenever I was talking about the workplace and HR issues I always reference Reid Hoffman. Because he’s written so many very interesting books about relationships in the office. And it's terribly sexist to reference only senior men, but if you are trying to impact someone's behavior and try and get them to change it, reference someone you know they respect. It's remarkably effective.

Rachel Thomas: The other thing I would say to Dave is, it's good for him too. Your status goes up when you speak up for other people - whether you're speaking for a female on the team or a male on the team. When you speak up your status goes up. So Dave, do it because it's good for you.

Joanna Coles: And you get the undying support of the people below you.

Rachel Thomas: Absolutely. We're going to take a short break to hear from our sponsor but we'll be right back.

Sean Fennessey: OK. Here's a question from Will who's a consultant in Chicago and I will say I don't identify with this question. “I would much rather be respected than liked at work. Why are my female co-workers so worried about being liked?”

Sheryl Sandberg: Oh I got this. I wrote a whole book on this. You know the fundamental thing that I learned, and I learned it from Deborah Grunfeld, who's a professor at Stanford and now serves on the Lean In board, and that got me to write the book. Years before Lean In, I was sitting next to her at dinner and she said, “There's a lot of data out there. But the number one thing the data shows is that as men get more powerful and successful, they are better liked. And as women get more powerful and successful, they are less liked.” Full stop. So it's not that women care more about being liked and it's not that, you know, we have shallow egos and we don't want our feelings hurt. That's not what's going on. What's going on is that success and likability are negatively correlated for women and that's what we need to stop.

Sean Fennessey: Phoebe, what about you? You're in a line of work where you want to be liked and you want people to understand your point of view, but also you want to be provocative and you want to say something that is true and real and how you feel and might make people a little uncomfortable. What's the balance like there?

Phoebe Robinson: I will say this...So last Fall, Ilana Glazer and I went on a stand-up tour together and it was so amazing and I told her when we were done, I was like, “I was actually going to quit stand-up.” Just because it just felt...I will always just feel really uncomfortable and stressed out performing in front of male comedians because male comedians are so judgmental of female comics and are like, men can talk about dating and it's totally fine. But if a woman talks about dating in her stand-up material then it's like, “Oh that's all she talks about. She doesn't have any other opinions.” And so I just was kind of like, “This doesn’t feel fun for me.” And then I sort of had to recalibrate and just remember I don't care that much about being liked by the guys and it's really freeing because I think I'm more honest on stage. I think I'm doing things that I'm really fully interested by and things that surprise me. But it took a long time to get there. But I think now that I'm there, I think I'm better.

Sean Fennessy: Is that correlating with success for you, too?

Phoebe Robinson: Yeah, I know one of the things that I really am proud about with “2 Dope Queens”and we’re on HBO. And we’re about to tape a second season is like, a show like that where it's just two black women talking to each other. And having their other friends on who are queer, women, people of color - that's never happened before. And the audience is really so into it because they feel like they're being represented in a way they might have not been with other sort of comedy outlets. And so it just made me go, “There is an audience for it and I think a lot of times you get fooled into believing that what we have to give nobody wants.”

Sheryl Sandberg: I think one thing that's worth acknowledging is it actually is the dearth of women of color that enables us to stereotype them. When you only have one woman in the room, you can put whatever characteristic she has on all women. When there is one black woman, “Well, all black women must be like that black woman.” One of the reasons men don't get those kind of stereotypes is in these situations, there are many of them so you know some men are this some men or that some men are loud, some men are soft, some men are aggressive, some men are more passive. You get the full range of behaviors because you just have more people.

Rachel Thomas: The other thing I would say is, what I love about Will's question is I think he's asking what can I do? I think baked into it is what can I do about this. So one really practical thing is when women assert themselves, they tend to be less liked. So listen for it. If you hear women called “assertive”, “bitchy”, “sharp elbowed”, you see the eyes roll when a woman is talking, “aggressive”...There's so many. We could go on and on. Just very matter-of-factly ask them, “What did the woman do?” and then, “Would you feel the same way if a man did the same thing?” And the answer is almost always, “no.” And I'm going to own it right now. I still do this all the time to myself and about 30 percent of the time, my answer is “no”. So this isn't just men. This is men and women. But checking yourself when you have that negative response goes a long way.

Sean Fennessey: Let me ask you a question. Is it a bad thing if those phrases that those euphemisms you're talking about are used as a compliment about women? Because in some cases I might find myself saying, “Oh well, you know, my colleague Julie is sharp elbowed,” but I mean like she'll get in the room and she'll get things done. Is that something you shouldn't do?

Sheryl Sandberg: I think knowing the historical context is important and if you want to say that, be clear. “And I think that's a positive because you need to get stuff done. We're looking for someone with her leadership qualities.” The truth is that the characteristics that are ascribed to leaders are often described in a positive way for men and a negative way for women.

Sean Fennessey: I probably wouldn’t use that phrase…

Sheryl Sandberg: I can’t remember the last time I heard a man called sharp-elbowed. But, look, we want the full range of our language for everything and I think it is about being aware of those biases here–not inadvertently feeding into them.

Joanna Coles: I would add one thing, as well, to your point about when you’re in the room and there's only one black woman in the room, or there's only one white woman in the room - to have a sense of empathy for what it is like to be that person - to have the minority voice in the room because to Sheryl's point, it sucks.

Rachel Thomas: It does suck. We've all been the only one in the room.

Joanna Coles: And the burden you feel to represent all of your sex. You know all of your sex at that moment is huge. And I think it encourages a lot of second guessing which can be really unhelpful.

Phoebe Robinson: And also. I think a lot of times people go, “Well I hired one person of color. Job done. Moving on.” Yeah and instead of being like this is a unique voice I have here and I want to find other unique voices like, “I'm just going to fulfill this quota.” And so that makes me look good. I'm one of the good ones and so I think we have to get out of seeing like me as a number to fill, as a slot to fill and just be like, “Oh, I really like Phoebe and the qualities that she brings and she brings something different than I bring to it and that's why I hire her.”

Sean Fennessey: New question. Nate, a sales rep from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He says, “Negotiation is a critical skill for success. So how can women expect to be paid equally if they don't negotiate?”

Rachel Thomas: So the first thing I would say to Nate is, women do negotiate at the same rates as men. We know that from our “Women in the Workplace” study. We see it year over year. So the way I think about it is women are doing their part. So now the question is, “What does everybody else need to do?” And a lot of this is rooted in–we tend to overestimate men's performance. So they're hired and promoted based on potential. And we tend to underestimate women's performance, which means they have to prove themselves again and again to get hired and to get that promotion. So we really need to step back and understand that. That's one of the biggest things here. And we do know – still to this day – women are promoted more slowly than men and particularly women of color. So this is important.

Sean Fennessey: So what about for men who are in the position where they're being negotiated with by a woman? You know we talked a little bit about likeability and biases and you know what should a should a man be receiving a negotiation like this and how do they interrogate whether this somehow feels different than if they're getting the same conversation from a man?

Rachel Thomas: Listen. I'll admit it. Sometimes when you're talking to a woman and she's really going for it, which I encourage all women listening to do, of course, you get that little tickle like, “Wow. She's pretty assertive.” And you're right, this does go back to the likability penalty. We tend to like women less when they really push for more. And if you get that little tickle, just put yourself in check. Like, “Is she making a rational argument? Are her points clear?” But the big thing I want the men listening to hear is women are asking for more at the same rate. They should be. And if for whatever reason you find yourself having a little bit of a negative response to that, put yourself in check and really think about what they deserve and also know you're probably underestimating them whether you realize it or not.

Sean Fennessey: Let's do another question. This comes from Sam who is a financial analyst in New York City. So I'll throw this to Sheryl. Sam says, “I know I have implicit biases but I don't see how I am supposed to do anything about them. And isn't everyone biased anyway?”

Sheryl Sandberg: Well Sam, I really like this question because yes, you have implicit biases and so do I. And I sit here knowing that despite having written Lean In and founded Lean In and really caring about this I have those same biases on women. And that's the most important thing for people to understand on bias. All of us have it, we have it on race, no matter what race we are. We have it on women, no matter–on gender, no matter what gender group. No one is saying that it's only white men who have these biases. Far to the contrary - I've seen this happen to myself lots of times. Someone will come up to me and say, You just took questions from only men in the room. And I'll be like, “Oh my God, I did? I didn't even notice.” That's happening to all of us. So the thing that's important is to recognize we have the bias and then correct for it. So what do we know? We know that women are more easily interrupted and more often interrupted than men. You have to know that. And then watch, “Am I, even as a woman, interrupting more women?” What do we know? We know that racial groups that have been in the majority, so in the United States - white - over people who have been historically discriminated against, we know that men over women, the bias is that the data shows we think their performance is higher than it is and the discriminated groups lower. So what does that mean? When we're evaluating performance we have to ask ourselves, “Wait a second. How am I evaluating this?”

Sean Fennessey: You talked about your no-a––holes policy. I mean how are you...when you're looking for new people to work with, how are you figuring out what are your personal biases and how are you figuring out...are you trying to counteract them in any way?

Phoebe Robinson: Yeah, I feel like I have probably in the past for sure been, like, either harder on black people or harder on women because I'm like, you know, you feel the burden to represent and you want to disprove a stereotype. So I think the way that I try to go about is once you identify, “Oh am I being like hypocritical here?” that I need to correct that and check in with myself and do better. So I think with this question it’s like what Sheryl said. Once you know your biases, then you can kind of course correct.

Sean Fennessey: You guys are experts at this so maybe you can help me explore it a little bit. And where I work we cover sports, popular culture, some politics, some food. I think there are some inherent biases about who is a fan of NFL football - who is the number one and who is an expert, and who is someone who should be working in that field with us, who should be running the NFL beat for the company that we work for. And I think our mind goes to maybe a white man, maybe a black man…

Sheryl Sandberg: Ex-football player.

Sean Fennessey: And that's it. Yes, somebody who has played the game, somebody who has worked in the field for a long period of time. How do you go about kind of disrupting that mentality and figuring out, “How do I find somebody who is just the absolute best person for the job that can also, like you said, diversify the shape of our leadership?”

Rachel Thomas: Well, first of all, you choose to. You say to yourself, “This is a priority. We've got to make changes.” And then you mandate diverse slates. I mean that means you get people on the slate who are equally qualified. I want to slow down on that. They're just not on the slate. We're not checking the box here, they're equally qualified. But you've got to say to yourself, “I want women, I want women of color. I want members of the LGBT community and really hold out until you make those hires.”

Sean Fennessey: Okay. Let's do another question. This is from a retired cop in California. “Conventional wisdom is that we should view all workers as ‘equal’ and you're called a chauvinist if you acknowledge differences between men and women. In professions that have historically appealed to men or are physically demanding, shouldn't we embrace the differences between genders rather than expecting everyone to have the same abilities?”

Sheryl Sandberg: I think we have to embrace the differences between people not between genders. So again, getting away from the stereotypes. There are people you work with who are more assertive versus less. There are people who interrupt more versus less. There are people who are more analytical, less analytical. Those people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, races backgrounds. And I think getting to individual characteristics and not ascribing them to any particular group is the answer there.

Rachel Thomas: And one thing I'll say. You can't see me but I'm five feet tall so I mean I cannot carry a grown man out of a burning building. Like, I just can't. But that doesn't mean other women can't. So this might be about my individual talents, you know, and so what I'm able to do. But there are certainly women out there who can do that. So I do think this getting trapped in physical abilities, there's lots of women who are big and strong and can do that. So not getting trapped in that I think is the right idea.

Sean Fennessey: I think one thing that makes men a bit anxious in situations like this is what if a 5-foot woman does come into my office and say, “I want to be the person that carries men out of burning buildings?” Then how do you communicate, “Well, you're not the right person for that.” How do you do that in a way…

Rachel Thomas: Well I wouldn't assume that, by the way. I could be hella strong. Probably the first thing I would do is have a set of, like we do in any job, like have a set of criteria and test against it. So if I can get up those steps and get a 200-pound man out building, then I absolutely am qualified, so not assuming.

Sean Fennessey: Let's do one last question. This comes from Jason who's a project manager in Hartford, Connecticut. Jason says, “I want to make sure I'm raising my daughters to be confident. What are your best tips for doing that?”

Sheryl Sandberg: My gut is that Jason's already a pretty great father if he's asking this question. But let's talk about what it means to be a great father and what it means is to be involved. And, this is the catch, gentlemen, is showing your daughters equality. So we can say all day, “I know you can do anything. You know, sweetie,” which is appropriate to a daughter. But we've also seen data that by age 14 girls who see their fathers doing housework believe in equality much more than girls who don't. So that means it's not good enough to say, “You should have an equal partner and you can do anything.” You need to show your daughter that. That means that you're doing laundry in your house. That means that you're doing the dishes along with your wife. That means that you're showing the respect for her that you want your daughter to have in your own home. It's not what you say. It's what you do.

Rachel Thomas: Tell Jason what his upside is.

Sheryl Sandberg: Oh, yes. This is really...well, you go ahead.

Rachel Thomas: So there's research that shows that the more that you do at home, if you're a 50/50 partner, you have a better relationship, you're healthier, and wait for it, gentlemen. You have more sex. Sean’s laughing.

Sean Fennessey: Is there anything else we want to address here?

Joanna Coles: If there’s one thing we haven't addressed here which is just the zero-sum nature of it all. There is a sense in which if you have ten people on the board and you have to add people of color and women that men lose out. And that, to me, is the conversation I hear all the time - that actually there is a zero sum nature to this.

Sheryl Sandberg: It’s tricky though.

Joanna Coles: It is tricky but I think it's worth discussing.

Sheryl Sandberg: I think it is and I think it's largely false. Now, I'm not going to say in every situation it's false. Of course, if there's one job, one person gets it, one doesn't. But in an aggregate level, here's what we know. Companies that are more diverse grow faster. Companies with more diverse leadership expand faster. What does that mean? More promotions for everyone. Economies where women are fully engaged in the workforce and people are engaged in the workforce grow faster. So assuming your company or even your economy is at its current size misses the point that more diversity can create growth for everyone.

Rachel Thomas: I literally could not have said it better myself. Getting this right is good for all of us. So huge thanks to Sheryl, Sean and Joanna and Phoebe for a great discussion. But more than that. Thank you to all the men listening. I hope we answered the questions you've always wanted to ask and if not, it's not too late. Send us your questions to And we also hope you'll subscribe to Tilted on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. Our producer is Shara Morris, our engineer for this episode was Sandy Hain and our music was composed by Casey Holford. Special thanks to Katie Miserany, Ali Bohrer, Megan Rooney and Sarah Maisel from the Lean In team and Laura Mayer at Midroll.

I'm Rachel Thomas and this was Tilted: A Lean In Podcast.