This TED Talk by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, preceded her book Lean In and is a great thought provoker about why women aren't getting to the top of C level positions. She gives us three main pieces of advice for how women can Lean In and aim for the top.
1) Sit at the table. Women constantly underestimate themselves and withdraw from negotiation in the workforce. Women also attribute their success to external factors while men attribute it to themselves. To make it more complicated, success and likeability is negatively correlated for women while it is the opposite for men. We need to tell women that we can own our own success and sit at the table in order to get to where we want to be.
2) Make your partner a real partner. If the man and woman have a child and have full time jobs, statistically the woman does twice as much of the housework and three times the amount of childcare. There’s more pressure on boys to succeed then on girls and that leaves the woman to be more likely to drop out and help out at home. We have to make working inside the home an important job for both genders to even it out.
3) Don’t leave before you leave. Once a women starts thinking about having a child, that often stays on her mind and she no longer seeks promotions or raises her hand. If women stop looking for opportunities too early on, when they return to work after having a child they will have missed that chance to get ahead. Sheryl advises women to stay motivated until the very day she decides to leave and avoid making decisions too far in advance.
Although the gender gap may still be prevalent, it is possible for future generations to change that. Our daughters and granddaughters have the opportunity to create a world where 50% of people running our countries and industries are women.
What do you think about Sheryl’s advice, share your opinions with us!