Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg calls for new policies to close the gender pay gap

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Facebook chief Sheryl Sandberg has called for policy changes to bring better pay and access to more influential roles for women.

The social media giant’s chief operating officer, 47, told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs of the obstacles faced by women in the business world.

She said on Sunday morning’s programme: “We know that when we don’t ask we don’t get.

“We need to start paying women well and women running for office at the same rate as men needs to be a part of that answer.”

For her first song she chose Beyonce’s hit Run The World (Girls).

After previously campaigning with the singer for gender equality, she said: “The answer is girls.

“No matter what the cultural differences are around the world, men lead.

“Beyonce’s message that women can run the world is so important for little girls, and boys, to hear.”

Commenting in the wake of a row over a gender pay gap at the BBC, Ms Sandberg said inequalities stemmed from the messages given to children at a young age.

She said: “What I really believe is that we start telling girls at very young ages not to lead, and we start telling little boys to lead, and that’s a mistake.

“We should let people choose that, not based on gender but on who they want to be.”

The highest paid woman on BBC’s recently released top-earners list was Claudia Winkleman, whose £450,000 – £499,999 wage band was dwarfed by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans’ approximate £2 million.

The revelation met a furious public backlash, and the apparent disparity is already being looked into by UK media and entertainment union, Bectu.

The organisation’s general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “This is a live issue and the current pay and grading structure does not offer transparency to demonstrate whether people are being paid the same or if someone is being paid less.

“We are working with the BBC on this issue”.

In an emotional episode of the long-running radio show, Ms Sandberg broke down in tears as she told presenter Kirsty Young about the best friends who rushed to support her following the death of her husband and her worries at the time for her children.

She also spoke of her recent meeting with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd about monitoring terrorist recruitment on Facebook and keeping it off wider social media.

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