Sheryl Sandberg: Hollywood Is More Open to Women But Still Belittles Conflicts as ‘Catfights’

“When two men disagree at work, it’s a disagreement. When two women disagree, it’s greatly exaggerated. It’s a catfight,” says the Facebook COO

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg believes there have been more accommodations for women in business, but they’re still judged differently than men.

“For the most part, Hollywood and corporate America have made more room for women,” Sandberg told Lena Dunham in an interview for Lenny newsletter. “But when two men disagree at work, it’s a disagreement. When two women disagree, it’s greatly exaggerated. It’s a catfight.”

Earlier this month, “Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig echoed that same sentiment, saying he was told to expect “catfights” when working with an all-female cast.

“I had some male producer say, ‘Oh boy, get ready. It’s going to be tough, you’re going to have catfights,'” the director recalled at June’s Produced By Conference.

Sandberg shared her own anecdote to illustrate that it’s not only men who judge women differently — women do as well.

“We expect more kindness from women, and we judge them more harshly,” said Sandberg. “Early in my career there was a senior woman I was excited to work with, and I thought she would be helpful. When she wasn’t, I was devastated. I expected greater kindness because she was a woman.”

She added, “We have to correct for the biases women face. You shouldn’t feel obligated to support a woman because she is a woman, but because you believe in her ideas and capabilities. It’s the right thing to do, and it creates a work environment that is better for everyone.”

Sandberg recently launched her latest initiative, “Together Women Can,” a campaign that celebrates the power of women supporting each other.

“There is a myth that women don’t support other women. It’s just not true. The reality is that women accomplish amazing things when we support each other,” she said. “Our goal is to help women lean in to their ambitions — and we don’t get there alone. We have heard from our Lean In Circles and from women in the workplace that in order to be more confident and feel stronger, they look to their female peers for support.”

Read Sandberg’s entire interview with Dunham here.