Sheryl Sandberg has been less vocal than some in Silicon Valley expected her to be about the new administration—but that appears to be changing.
On Wednesday, the Facebook COO sent a pair of clear messages that she intends to take a more public stance on political issues. First came the news, as reported by Refinery29, that Sandberg has donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood, the largest women’s health provider in the U.S. Then, speaking at the Watermark Conference for Women in California, the Lean In author told the crowd that her decision not to posting on social media about the Women’s March on Washington “was a mistake” and that “if [she] had to do it again, [she] certainly would post,” according to the East Bay Times.
“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,” she said of the demonstration, which she said she wasn’t able to attend because of a prior personal commitment.
Sandberg’s decision to donate to Planned Parenthood comes after she wrote a lengthy Facebook post last week criticizing Trump’s executive order reinstating the “global gag rule” that prevents the U.S. from giving funding to any international health organizations that provide abortions.
“We don’t have to guess—we know what this will do,” she wrote. “The last time the global gag rule was in effect, research showed more women who lost access to contraception had unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates doubled. The best way to prevent abortion is through more family planning services, not fewer.”
That post was the first online political statement Sandberg has made since President Trump’s inauguration. Her decision to stay silent until that moment had rankled some in Silicon Valley, as Pando founder and editor in chief Sarah Lacy noted in a story published the same day that Sandberg posted about the gag rule:
Since November, I’ve heard one phrase uttered over and over by senior women in the Valley: “Why isn’t Sheryl saying anything about this?” To be specific, it started right around November 9, when Hillary Clinton conceded the Presidency to Donald Trump. She defended [venture capitalist and vocal Trump supporter] Peter Thiel staying on Facebook’s board. She defended [Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg]’s dismissal of the idea that fake news impacted the election…And most surprising of all: Sheryl Sandberg had absolutely nothing public to say about last weekend’s women’s march, the largest feminist event in our lifetimes. The largest American protest. The time we actually saw footage on every major network and newspaper of what she has been saying for years women need to do: Linking arms and standing together.
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