Posted by: hillarydiehl11 | January 16, 2014

Why Do We Have So Few Women Leaders? Ted Talk with Sheryl Sandberg.

Trying to understand the concept of women in leadership roles can be really complicated because there is so much gray area, but a good Ted Talk can help out with almost anything, right? This particular Ted Talk that I linked above is by a woman named Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. She briefly begins to hash out the reasons why we don’t see as many women as we should in top-notch leadership roles. Her conclusion? Women aren’t gaining top leadership roles because they are dropping out of the workforce too soon. Now, arguably, the workforce isn’t the place for every woman (just like it isn’t the place for every man). Starting a family comes with a lot of emotional attachments and if a woman chooses to stay at home and care for her family, that is her personal decision. She should not be condemned because that in itself is a full-time job (or 2). However, if a woman wants to stay in the workforce, Sheryl argues that they should be able to and gives 3 pieces of advice for women who choose this route. This hits really close to my heart because, as I said in class the other day, I am very career-oriented and I fear that in the future I will have to give up my dream job (if I get married) to take care of my family and fulfill the “womanly roles” that men tend to expect out of women. I don’t want to be that woman; I want to chase my dream and refuse to stop until I get there. I believe in independence and hard work. The 3 pieces of advice that Sandberg gives are very powerful, and I would like to take some time to discuss them, for they would have great meaning to any career-oriented woman. First, she simply said that women should sit at the table. This can be taken both literately and figuratively. Women today are too afraid to “sit at the table” with men because it is statistically proven that women are less sure of themselves than men are. We tend to question our successes, while men tend to overplay their successes. This idea really baffles me. I see women as more motivated and passionate about their work than men are, so I don’t understand why they are less afraid to admit when they’ve done a good job. It’s probably because society responds better to men overplaying their accomplishments instead of women, but if we want to break this norm, we’ve got to start somewhere. Second, she said that a woman should make her partner a real partner. By this, she means that a woman should choose a man that it willing to split the personal family work evenly, including having equal gender roles within the house. I know that there is an increasing number of stay-at-home dads in this generation, but I feel like men who are okay with splitting the housework are more uncommon than Sandberg says. It’s not that simple to just only fall in love with a man who will split the personal chores with you, yet it is a wise piece of advice for someone who takes their professional life seriously. Life is about choices, and a wise woman should choose their partner with care. Lastly, she tells women to not “leave before they leave”. Apparently, it is proven that women hold themselves back from their careers because their minds are too preoccupied with things like getting engaged, married, pregnant, or starting a family. Once a woman’s mind is consumed with these thoughts, she is less likely to strive for promotions or higher achievements in the workplace, assuming she will one day leave for pregnancy anyways. As women start to enter the workforce more, while men accept a little more responsibility in the house, I think that these thoughts will be less consuming to women. To conclude, Sandberg had a lot of really strong points, and I agreed with the way she stuck up for the strength of women without necessarily bashing men.

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Responses

  1. We will be watching this video in class. I’ll be interested to hear what you all think about Sandberg’s perspective. She certainly has garnered a lot of attention from her TED talk, book, and site:

    http://leanin.org/


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