Sheryl Sandberg, the 44-year-old Facebook Chief Operating Officer reported to be worth over a billion dollars thanks to her stock holdings in the social media behemoth, became good buddies last year with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, after Kelly gave a sharp on-air rebuke to her Fox News colleague Lou Dobbs when Dobbs attempted to lecture her on the “submissive” role of women.
Dobbs and another conservative pundit, Erick Erickson, discussed a study that showed that women were now the primary money earner in 40 percent of households with children, and the two middle-aged, wealthy white men came to fast agreement that this new state of affairs in which women earn sometimes earn more money than men was a lamentable situation.
Kelly jumped in and gave the two a verbal smackdown.
“What makes you dominant and me submissive, and who died and made you scientist in chief?” snapped Kelly, an exchange that delighted Sheryl Sandberg.
“I loved this so much that I called you and we became friends over it,” Sandberg enthused, when she herself was an in-studio guest on Kelly’s Fox News chat show, The Kelly File Wednesday.
Sheryl Sandberg, in what she says is her “personal time,” also writes bestselling books advocating women’s equality. Her second book, Lean In For Graduates was published Tuesday, a day which was also “Equal Pay Day,” an annual event intended to draw attention to the gender pay gap; that is, the fact that men on average are paid more than women even for doing equal amounts of work.
So perhaps in deference to her new friend, Kelly shied away from her earlier rhetoric this week, in which she scoffed at the idea of a gender pay gap as a “meme” and even a “myth.”
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama issued two executive orders designed to cause companies that do business with the federal government to pay women equally to men. One order banned those companies from disciplining workers who openly discuss their salaries, saying that the workplace convention of keeping salaries secret contributes to the gender pay gap. Another order requires federal contractors to report how they pay employees to the government.
But on an earlier broadcast, Megyn Kelly said that those orders were “infantilizing to women.”
When Kelly attempted to lure Sheryl Sandberg into criticizing those Obama orders, Sandberg didn’t take the bait from her new pal.
“I think it’s good that the president took some steps, ” said Sheryl Sandberg. In fact, she said that the Obama orders did not go far enough. “In order to close the gap, we need all kinds of things to happen.”
The response from Sheryl Sandberg, who is reportedly the world’s youngest female billionaire, brought out a very different Megyn Kelly who earlier this week scoffed at the Obama orders, calling them a failed attempt to create a “political wedge issue.”
As for Sheryl Sandberg, though she appeared on Kelly’s political talk show, this week she dismissed rumors that she planned her own run for office.
“I have no plans to run for office,” said Sheryl Sandberg. “I really love working at Facebook. I don’t think that’s for me.”