Sheryl Sandberg to Women ‘We Need You to Lead’

Facebook executive and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg delivered a message of female empowerment while acknowledging she should have spoken out publicly about the millions who turned out for women’s marches around the world.

“Women: We need you to lead,” she told thousands of women attending the Watermark Conference for Women in Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

Initially criticized for her silence on the Trump administration’s policies after the presidential election, Sandberg has twice in one week challenged those affecting women. She also told the women assembled that a dialogue with the Trump administration is necessary and that she remains hopeful.

“No matter how challenging it looks, history is on our side,” she said. “Lean in harder. We will get there.”

Sandberg, a champion of women’s rights who represented Facebook at Trump Tower for a meeting with the president-elect in December, had come under fire for remaining silent during the women’s marches a day after the inauguration.

On Wednesday, she addressed the controversy, saying she was unable to attend the marches because of a personal commitment and decided as a result not to post publicly about them.

“This was an incredible showing of support for women all around the world, and it shows that there are so many people out there not just in the U.S., but around the world, who believe in equality for women,” Sandberg said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

She also has committed to giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood, the organization said.

“On behalf of the more than two million patients who come to Planned Parenthood each year, we are so grateful to Sheryl Sandberg for her longstanding, and now increased, support for our patients’ health care,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement to USA TODAY. The donation was first reported by Refinery29.

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Source: USA Today | Jessica Guynn