Multimillionaire Sheryl Sandberg wants An Unpaid Intern

Sheryl Sandberg is no stranger to press – according to Forbes she’s the sixth most powerful woman in the world and her book Lean In has launched a nonprofit that aims to, “encourag(e) women to pursue their ambitions, and chang(e) the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do.”

Which sounds great – unless you want to work with that organization and receive a salary.

In a Facebook post (that company Sandberg happens to work for…) Lean In’s editor-at-large, Jessica Bennett, asked for an intern available to work immediately and through the end of the year in unpaid internship. Although she tried to backtrack on this – screen-captures have preserved the double standard for all to see.

Lean In Intern Wanter

Sandberg personally made $91 million dollars last week in a sale of Facebook stock. However the non-profit is sustained through book sales of Lean In along with donations from Sandberg herself. However book sales were at Number 1 on for a while and Sandberg’s donations should be able to help cover at least the women working on spreading her idea.

The Fair Pay Campaign has launched a protest petition asking for Sandberg to pay her interns saying, “Instead of perpetuating the unfair advantages that privilege some women at other women’s expense, pay your interns so ALL kinds of women, regardless of their economic background, can take advantage of career-building opportunities like these.”

EDIT: According to the LA Times

The fury vented on Facebook prompted Bennett to explain herself late Wednesday:

“Dear What Appears to Be My Entire Facebook Feed: Want to clarify previous Lean In post. This was MY post, on MY feed, looking for a volunteer to help me in New York. LOTS of nonprofits accept volunteers. This was NOT an official Lean In Job posting. Let’s all take a deep breath.” apparently does not maintain a formal internship program.

This however does not remove my former critique. If Bennett is overworked and unable to complete her job and needs a volunteer/intern to help – that’s fine. But I still believe if you’re working on the pet project of a multimillionaire on a program to empower women you should be able to ask for the resources needed to cover the true cost of that labor – including the labor of support staff.  Otherwise it reflects poorly on the entire project.


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