One of her favourite posters at facebook is
‘DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT’
is the sign in her conference room.
We are talking about Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of the $66 billion dollar tech company we all know and use – Facebook. With the release of her book ‘Lean in’ she was last weeks main article in TIME which then led her being the hot topic in magazines & newspapers around the globe.
“The hard work of generations before us means that equality is within our reach, and we can close the leadership gap now. Each individual’s success can make success a little easier for the next. We do this – for ourselves, for one another, for our daughters and for our sons. If we push hard now, this next wave can be the last wave. In the future there will be no female leaders. There will be leaders.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg graduated from Harvard University and then early in her career she was taken under the wing of Larry Summers (Previous Secretary of State) -those two things alsne really helps to get a top job! However, Sheryl is not only one of the most successful COO’s at present, she is also a 43 year-old working mum who is trying to push the balance and equality amongst women in the workplace and the home.
The article details Sheryl’s views on women in the workplace and their overall role in society. It writes that today in the developed world women are better off than ever before, but that the blunt truth is that men still run the world. In the US alone, 36% more women aged 25- 34 have college degrees than men, although there are currently only 17 heads of State out of 195 and globally, women only hold 20% of all seats in parliaments. Only 4% of FORTUNE’s top 500 companies are headed by women and only 17% are on board seats. The figures aren’t increasing fast as 14 years ago it was 14% of women who were on boards. With these statistics it means that when the decisions that most affect our world, women’s voices are not heard equally.
Sheryl was raised to believe that going into business was a bad idea, it was suggested to leave it to the men. In her book Lean in she details her push towards changing the view of how women are seen and they see themselves in order to encourage them to achieve what they desire. Sheryl states that from an early age, girls get the message that they will likely have to choose between succeeding at work and being a good wife and mother. She states that women rarely make one big decision to leave the workforce. Instead, they make a lot of small decisions along the way. For example: A law associate might decide not to shoot for partner because someday she wants to have a family. A sales rep might take a smaller territory or not apply for a management role. A teacher might pass on leading curriculum development for her school. Often without even realising it, women stop reaching for new opportunities because they feel they need to prepare for the future of ‘maternity’. But by the time a baby actually arrives, a woman is likely to be in a drastically different place than she would have been had she not leaned back.
One of her very clever statements is that “Having it all is perhaps the greatest trap ever”. No matter what any of us has – and how grateful we are for what we have – no one has it all. Nor can they. The very concept of having it all flies in the face of the basic laws of economics and common sense. Scarifies and hardships are not a choice but a necessity. Hence, her urge for women to negotiate shared household duties with their spouse early and often, and hire help where necessary.
Sheryl believes that if more women ‘Lean in’ as in don’t hold back that we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities. Shared experiences form the basis of empathy and in turn can spark the institutional changes we need. More female leadership will lead to fairer treatment for all women and in turn we also need men to ‘lean in’ to their families more. Especially since research has consistently found that children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities. A balance is needed amongst all.
What we think.
We both were raised to believe we can do and achieve anything we want, that we neither have any advantages nor disadvantages to men. Therefore, we have never called ourselves feminists, as we see women in western society have the avenues available to them to do what they want. Probably we would call ourselves more individualists as we believe an individual is in charge of their future and reaching whatever goals they have. We don’t see our gender making any difference in what we do. So these points and issues raised by Sandberg we never really thought deeply about until after reading and seeing how ‘statistically’ we are unbalanced. I guess we just didn’t come across it as a problem, and we still don’t – but after having a conversation with a friend about feminism and reading this article we became curious to what others thinks. Our friend made a very valid point when she said “without feminism we wouldn’t be where we are today and I wouldn’t be able to say that I am equal to a man. It’s the people before us who have fought for the equality we have today – it wasn’t too long ago that women couldn’t even vote”. Which is similar to what Sheryl states above “The hard work of generations before us means that equality is within our reach and we can close the leadership gap now”.
What do YOU think?
So this topic brought an immense amount of curiosity to us of what other people in the world think.
How would the world be if we had absolute equality? Would it be completely different or just the same? Do you think we will ever get equality amongst women’s pay, and women holding the top positions? And is it needed? Or do you already think it is equal? Do you ever feel like your treated unequally because of your sex – whether a man or a woman? What if every female was raised to be the ‘bread winner’ for her future, would this bring about the change and balance that Sandberg speaks of?
Comment below or on our facebook page, and share amongst your friends – we would love to hear all your opinions.
Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk