By Melanie Phillips, Mailonline
The chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, decided last week to use the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos to make some observations about women in the workplace.
She said that companies should be able to ask women employees whether they intend to have children.
Crumbs. Did she really say that?
It is, of course, no more than basic common sense to say that if a woman has children, this will very likely affect her attitude to work. At the very least, it surely merits a discussion with her employer.
But such is the equality madness, so absolute the prohibition against speaking about such matters and so great the opprobrium directed at anyone who does, that when someone actually says the blindingly obvious like this it comes as a shock.
Indeed, Ms Sandberg revealed that her firm’s own lawyer had been nervous about her suggesting that women employees might be different from men. Heaven forbid!
In fact, most of the rest of her message was militantly feminist — attacking gender stereotypes, criticising women for not being more assertive at work and urging them not to downgrade their ambitions just because they had children.
Nevertheless, she also believes that employers and female employees should be open with each other about how such women will juggle work and family — because women have different priorities in life from men.
You may find these differences praiseworthy or, as Ms Sandberg clearly does, most regrettable — but that’s just how it is.
Yet this patently obvious fact is unsayable because of the shibboleth that women behave in exactly the same way as men and therefore have to be treated in an identical manner.