TIME health

Sheryl Sandberg Explains Why Facebook Covers Egg-Freezing

The Davos World Economic Forum 2015
Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images Sheryl Sandberg, billionaire and chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during a session on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015.

"I talked about it with our head of HR, and said, 'God we should cover this'"

A Facebook employee with cancer inspired COO Sheryl Sandberg to create the company’s controversial egg-freezing policy, Sandberg said in an interview released Friday.

In a Bloomberg Television interview with Emily Chang, Sandberg explained the genesis of the policy that gives employees money to get their eggs frozen in order to delay childbirth.

“There’s a young women working at Facebook who had got cancer, and I knew her and she came to me and said, ‘I’m going to go through the treatment, and that means I won’t be able to have children unless I can freeze my eggs, and I can’t afford it, but our medical care doesn’t cover it,'” Sandberg explained. “I talked about it with our head of HR, and said, ‘God we should cover this.’ And then we looked at each other and said, ‘Why would we only cover this for women with cancer, why wouldn’t we cover this more broadly?'”

Egg-freezing has been widely used to help women with cancer preserve their fertility after chemotherapy, but it’s increasingly being used by women who want to delay motherhood for non-medical reasons, like if they haven’t found the right partner or they want to focus on work. When Facebook and Apple announced in November that they would cover elective egg-freezing for their employees, some critics attacked the policies, saying the companies were essentially encouraging women to delay motherhood until it’s convenient for the company.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson doesn’t agree. “We at Virgin want to steal the idea and offer it to our women,” he told Bloomberg in the same interview. “Somebody said to me they got criticism…and I said, ‘How can anybody criticize them for doing that? It’s women’s choice.”

He has a personal reason for supporting egg-freezing policies. “My daughter just had two wonderful twins from eggs, and they wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the eggs,” he said.

[h/t Bloomberg]

TIME Culture

Now There’s a Barbie of Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay barbie doll

As part of Mattel's "Sheroes" collection

Now there’s Barbie doll of Selma director Ava DuVernay as part of Mattel’s new “Sheroes” collection.

The collection, which was unveiled at Variety’s “Power of Women” luncheon Friday, includes Barbie version of other famous women like Broadway star Kirsten Chenoweth, actress Emmy Rossum and country singer Trisha Yearwood.

“Barbie has always represented that girls have choices, and this spring we are proud to honor six Sheroes who through their trade and philanthropic efforts are an inspiration to girls,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, general manager of Barbie, in a statement. “Started by a female entrepreneur and mother, this brand has a responsibility to continue to honor and encourage powerful female role models who are leaving a legacy for the next generation of glass ceiling breakers.”

DuVernay said on Twitter that she loves her Barbie, which comes complete with her trademark braids and sits in a director’s chair:

TIME

Anita Sarkeesian: Don’t Give Twitter ‘a Cookie’ For Their New Harassment Policy

"They're actually starting to do their jobs"

Anita Sarkeesian thinks Twitter’s improved harassment policy is a step in the right direction, but she’s not ready to give them a round of applause just yet.
“They’re actually starting to do their jobs,” Sarkeesian said at a panel at Tina Brown’s Women in the World conference Thursday. “They don’t need a cookie for that.”
She was joined by actress Ashley Judd, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon in a panel called “Taming the Trolls,” moderated by Katie Couric.
Sarkeesian said she was “impressed” with the recent steps Twitter has taken to stop harassment, noting that a response that would have taken 6 months last year now takes about 20 minutes. Still, she noted, “I’ll probably be harassed during this live-stream.”
“The method to report is staggeringly inadequate,” said actress and anti-harassment activist Ashley Judd, adding that she’d like to help solve the problem. “I’m aggravated they haven’t reached out to me, I’m low hanging fruit.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has been proactive about prosecuting cyber crimes, but she thinks that tech companies also have to be more responsive. “When [a victim] contacts the social media site, she thinks there’s no-one to talk to,” she said, adding that law enforcement also need to be taking these crimes more seriously. “We have to let victims know that if they report, something’s going to happen.”
Harris also emphasized that when it comes to cyber crimes and revenge porn, victim blaming is alive and well. Too often, she says, who’ve had private photos posted by a former flame without their permission are asked why they allowed the photos to be taken, as if the exposure were their fault. “It’s normal” to take intimate photos, Harris said, comparing nude selfies to racy Polaroids from the ’70s. There needs to be a conversation about prevention, Harris says, but we should be “doing it in a way that does not blame the victim.”
TIME TIME 100 Gala

Kanye West Warns Lee Daniels Not to Steal His Act for Empire

The hip hop superstar joked that his TIME 100 gala performance would turn up on the Fox show

During his performance at the TIME 100 gala Tuesday night, Kanye West jokingly warned fellow honoree Lee Daniels not to steal any of his act for the characters on his TV show Empire.

“Lee don’t try to take this on your next season, though man– trying to have one of the brothers pulling my sh-t man,” Kanye said in between songs, an apparent reference to the sons of Lucius Lyon on the hit Fox show. “If you see this on Empire, you just know where he got it from.”

The hit Fox show tells the story of a terminally ill hip hop magnate whose family members—and ex-wife—are fighting for control of his entertainment empire.

West performed hits like “New Slaves,” “Blood on the Leaves,” and “Gold Digger” while bathed in golden light in front of several shirtless men covered in white chalk. So keep your eyes peeled for some topless chalk-covered guys backing up Jamal or Hakeem on Empire.

TIME TIME 100 Gala

The 8 Best Things That Happened at the TIME 100 Gala

Good selfies were taken by all

What do you get when you put Kim Kardashian, Martha Stewart, David Koch and Amy Schumer in a room with a bunch of journalists and a ton of alcohol? A list of greatest hits, of course. Here’s a list of the 9 most jaw-dropping moment’s from Tuesday night’s TIME 100 Gala.

When Amy Schumer pretended to fall in front of Kim and Kanye on the red carpet

She later answered “Malala Yousafzai” when asked who she thought was the “most bangable” person on the TIME 100.

TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World - Red Carpet
Kevin Mazur—Getty Images for TIME

When Julianne Moore danced

She’s still got it.

NY: 2015 Time 100 Gala - Inside
Clint Spaulding—Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA

When three power women hugged it out

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe said meeting U.S Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and Nigerian activist Obiageli Ezekwesili reminded her of “the power of women.” The trio discussed the best ways to beat Boko Haram and bring back the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.

Larry Busacca—Getty Images for TIME

When one Nolan interviewed another

TIME’s very own Nolan Feeney asked Christopher Nolan about how he avoids writers block (hint: he walks).

TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World - Cocktails
Jemal Countess—Getty Images for TIME

When Martha Stewart became everybody’s best friend

She got selfies with Kim Kardashian and Karlie Kloss.

Larry Busacca—Getty Images for TIME
TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World - Cocktails
Andrew Hinderaker for TIME

When Kanye performed

TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World - Dinner
Kevin Mazur—Getty Images for TIME

When the Frozen songwriters tweeted that they were lonely, and John Green came to keep them company

“If you are at the TIME 100 event and don’t know anyone, come find us in the corner and we will sing showtunes,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez tweeted.

NY: 2015 Time 100 Gala - Inside
Clint Spaulding—Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA

When Laverne Cox finally got to meet Lee Daniels

Jemal Countess—Getty Images for TIME

TIME TIME 100 Gala

Here’s What Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards Had to Say to David Koch

NY: 2015 Time 100 Gala - Inside
Clint Spaulding—Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA Cecile Richards attends the Time 100 Gala held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 21, 2015.

Not what you might expect

When Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards met well-known donor to conservative causes David Koch at the Time 100 gala Tuesday night, she didn’t bring up their divergent views on social issues — instead, she praised him for his commitment to criminal justice reform.

Richards told the billionaire industrialist during a conversation with TIME that she was “grateful for what you’re doing in criminal justice,” and Koch answered that reform was “well-needed.”

As well as pledging to spend nearly a billion dollars to elect conservative candidates in the 2016 elections, Koch and his brother Charles have recently stepped up their efforts to lobby for prison reform. Mark Holden, senior vice president and general counsel at Koch Industries, told TIME in January that the issue was “sweeping in a lot of unusual, non-traditional allies, and I think it’s a good thing.”

Koch also told Richards the story of how he got involved with philanthropy. After surviving a plane crash, he said, he realized that “this is a spiritual experience and I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing philanthropic projects.”

The 2015 TIME 100 honoree also told TIME why he likes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, reinforcing the notion that the Republican presidential hopeful might be the favored candidate of the influential brothers.

TIME TIME 100 Gala

Here’s What Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner Loves About Serial

TIME 100 Gala
Andrew Hinderaker for TIME Julie Snyder, Sarah Koenig and Matthew Weiner attend the TIME 100 Gala at Lincoln Center in New York, NY, on Apr. 21, 2015.

While Sarah Koenig said her dad is a real-life Mad Man

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner met Serial producers Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder at the TIME 100 gala Tuesday and told them that their hit true crime podcast has been an inspiration to him as a storyteller.

“Listening to Serial reminds me that you have to put yourself in the place of the audience, you have to be a detective.” Weiner said in conversation with Koenig and Snyder. “Sometimes the fact that you don’t know is the story.”

The creators of the AMC show and the hit podcast traded philosophies of building a narrative, and it turns out the two addictive series may have more in common than we thought. Snyder said the work that she and Koenig do has been influenced by the approach to character on Mad Men, noting that “the characters Matt writes are never archetypes.”

Koenig noted she admires the the contemplative tone of some parts of Mad Men: “Even though it’s TV and the characters are talking, there’s a quietness to it that I really like.”

And she added that Mad Men has a special place in her heart because of her family history in the advertising business. “My father was a real-life Mad Man– Julian Koenig. He ran one of the first upstart ad agencies on Madison Avenue,” Koenig says.

TIME TIME 100 Gala

David Koch Explains Why He Likes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

"He's got a wonderful, good-hearted character that I admire immensely"

Billionaire industrialist David Koch praised Scott Walker for his extensive union reforms and his “good-hearted character” Tuesday night, reinforcing the notion that the Wisconsin governor might enjoy the support of the noted conservative donor for his potential 2016 presidential bid.

“I think he’s been a very successful governor, he’s reformed the union system in Wisconsin,” said Koch, who was attending the 2015 TIME 100 Gala in New York City. “He’s got a wonderful, good-hearted character that I admire immensely.”

While the 2015 TIME 100 honoree is adamant that he is not yet officially endorsing any candidate, he had earlier signaled his support for Walker at a donor event in Manhattan on Monday, according to a report from the New York Times. Koch and his brother Charles were honored in this year’s TIME 100 by another presidential hopeful, Senator Rand Paul.

Koch praised Walker’s approach to public school education, and said he admired the way he has negotiated the unions in Wisconsin. He also said he thinks Walker has as much foreign policy experience as Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she served as Secretary of State. “He has as much knowledge about the Middle East as she does,” he said.

When asked whether he thinks Walker could beat Clinton, Koch seemed unconcerned. “I’m not sure what Hillary’s political tactics are,” he said. “She’s got at long way to go.”

TIME TIME 100 Gala

‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Founder Urges Obama to Do More for Missing Girls

"If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls"

Nigerian activist and Bring Back Our Girls champion Obiageli Ezekwesili has called on President Obama to do more to help find the girls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram.

“If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls,” she said.

Ezekwesili, who was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in TIME’s annual issue this year, met with Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who runs a school for former child soldiers in Uganda, at the TIME 100 gala in New York City on Tuesday.

“It is time for someone as powerful as Barack Obama to compare the girls of Chibok to his own daughters,” Ezekwesili said. “These girls are a symbol of our own message to girls, that they should be educated, that we would go beyond the call of duty for you.”

She lamented the fact we live in a world where “a child is forced to choose between being alive and being educated.”

Ezekwesili cited some other TIME 100 recipients in her remarks at the gala. “Emma Watson got it right, my father was a he for she,” she said, referencing Watson’s United Nations HeForShe campaign. “Those [kidnapped] girls, their fathers are crying.”

She added, “Who says that out of those 219 girls [there could have been] three Malalas?” (Malala Yousafzai, another recipient, is an activist for women’s education.)

Power said the U.S. was looking at ways to bolster the fight against Boko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands in Nigeria over the past few months. “We’ve been looking at how to throw our weight behind an international force.”

Nyirumbe, who wrote on Ezekwesili for the 2015 TIME 100, said that the meeting between her, Ezekwesili and Power reminded her of “the power of women.”

“I would like to see a lot of people more involved in practical solutions to practical problems,” she said. “Women have got to the point where we can turn the world upside down.”

Ezekwesili shared similar sentiments in her closing remarks. “There’s absolutely nothing that the God I believe in cannot do,” she said. “But the same God has given man and woman the power of choice. Whatever we choose to do, we can accomplish. Let’s choose to bring our girls back, please?”

TIME

Girls Who Escaped ISIS Describe Systematic Rape

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Bilgin Sasmaz—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during a press conference at UN headquarters in New York on April 9, 2015.

Girls are forced into marriage and sold as gifts, aid group says

As they destroy antiquities and capture cities, ISIS fighters have also been engaged in a systematic campaign of rape and sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in Iraq and Syria, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday.

According to the report, the widespread rape of girls and women from the Yezidi Christian minority group—is part of a organized system of abuse that includes slavery, forced marriage, and giving girls as “gifts” to different men. According to a recent U.N. report, about 3,000 people are currently in ISIS captivity, many of them Yezidi women. Last year, ISIS published an article that lays out its defense of sex slavery on religious grounds, despite the fact that sex slavery is condemned by the international community. “The confluence of crises wrought by violent extremism has revealed a shocking trend of sexual violence employed as a tactic of terror by radical groups,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said earlier this week.

One 20-year-old Yezidi woman told Human Rights Watch that ISIS held her and about 60 other women in a wedding hall in Syria, to be raped at will. They were told to “forget about your relatives, from now on you will marry us, bear our children, God will convert you to Islam and you will pray.” Here’s how she described the scene:

From 9:30 in the morning, men would come to buy girls to rape them. I saw in front of my eyes ISIS soldiers pulling hair, beating girls, and slamming the heads of anyone who resisted. They were like animals…. Once they took the girls out, they would rape them and bring them back to exchange for new girls. The girls’ ages ranged from 8 to 30 years… only 20 girls remained in the end.

As horrific as these stories are, they’re not quite new. Human Rights Watch published a similar report detailing ISIS’s forced marriages and conversions of Yezidi people last year, which focused less on specifically sexual abuse and more on widespread devastation of Yezidi communities. Still, international outrage has done little to stop the violence. “People feel quite powerless in the face of a group like ISIS,” says Liesl Gerntholtz, Human Rights Watch Executive Director for Women’s Rights. “Traditional tactics like naming and shaming just don’t work for them.”

ISIS is not the only Islamist militant group to use sexual violation as a tool of terrorism. This week marks the one-year anniversary of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in northeast Nigeria. Based on how Boko Haram has treated other female captives, many fear that the schoolgirls have been forced into marriage or sold into sex slavery. Shortly after the kidnapping, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted that he had taken the girls and planned to “sell them on the market.”

More: Boko Haram Has Fled But No One Know the Fate of the Chibok Girls

But despite the atrocities, there is a glimmer of hope in the latest report on ISIS and the Yezidi women. Yezidi religious leaders have issued statements welcoming abused Yezidi girls back into the community after they escape from their captors, a move that may ease the widespread social stigma against girls who have been victims of sexual assault. “That is unusual, and for me personally, that was a heartwarming part,” says Gerntholtz. “They need to be accepted back, they need to be supported. This was very important and very influential to make sure there were no honor killings or honor-related violence.”

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