Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, spoke on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum, fresh from a standing-room only appearance in Beijing and a much-discussed meeting with regulators who have blocked Facebook within China’s borders.
Sandberg talked about the consequences of gender imbalances: “Every study of diversity, every serious look at development tells us that if we don’t get women to participate in our workforce, economic growth stalls,” she said. “You see it now in Japan. If Japanese society does not get more women into their economy, they cannot grow. And they know that and it is part of Prime Minister Abe’s three-point plan.
“The United States will get to that point, China will get to that point,” she added, according to the international press. “We have no choice, we have to fix this.”
“We can find biologically based differences between men and women, and those are true, but it does not mean that leadership is one of them,” she added.
Japan is running out of labor force mainly because of two reasons: its population is aging fast and its number of hired women is one of the lowest in the developed world. A World Economic Forum report ranked Japan 101 out of 135 countries in gender equality.