| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Aug 15 Wanted: aggressive
go-getter to join high-profile foundation advocating for women's
rights in a male-dominated corporate world. Must work for free.
LeanIn.org, the nonprofit created by wealthy Facebook
chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, created a stir on
Thursday with a job ad posted by one of its editors that called
for an editorial intern to work for no pay at the group, which
works primarily to empower women.
"So ladies - who wants to LeanIn to an unpaid internship for
Madam Moneybags?" tweeted Christina Trapolino, a marketing
director in Austin, Texas. "Lean in and bend over," tweeted
Charlotte Allen, a conservative writer based in Washington, D.C.
In a Facebook post late Thursday, LeanIn's president, Rachel
Thomas, said the organization had worked with four unpaid
volunteers in the past, and was planning a paid internship
"We support equality - and that includes fair pay - and
we'll continue to push for change in our own organization and
broader community," she wrote.
A Facebook spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. Nor did a spokeswoman for LeanIn.org.
The Facebook post, from LeanIn editorial director Jessica
Bennett, actually read: "Wanted: Lean In editorial intern, to
work with our editor (me) in New York. Part-time, unpaid, must
be HIGHLY organized with editorial and social chops and able to
commit to a regular schedule through end of year. Design and web
skills a plus! HIT ME UP. Start date ASAP."
Bennett, who previously held positions at blog site Tumblr,
Newsweek, and the Village Voice, later posted on her page that
the notice was for a volunteer rather than an official job
posting. "Let's all take a deep breath," she wrote.
Both postings attracted hundreds of comments criticizing the
organization for exploitative and hypocritical behavior.
Sandberg's book, "Lean In," encourages women to stand up for
themselves and take charge of their careers. Parts of the book
deal with asking for fair pay.
Yet the book also stands up for women who work for free,
including Sandberg's mother, who spent years volunteering for
causes such as the plight of Russian Jews during the Soviet era.
The book also encourages women to pursue their own path,
whether a career or staying home with children, or some
Some commentators speculated about the legality of hiring an
unpaid intern. U.S. labor laws permit it, as long as certain
criteria are met. An employer cannot derive an immediate
advantage from the intern's work, for example.
Recently, a Federal court held that News Corp's Fox violated
the law by not paying interns who worked on 2010's "Black Swan."