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Sheryl Sandberg: Why there are too few women leaders

Sheryl Sandberg: Why there are too few women leaders

I first saw this during the TED Women event back in December 2010 and thought it was amazing. So have decided to put it up here on the Women Unlimited website. I hope you enjoy it.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite.

Long before Sheryl Sandberg left Google to join Facebook as its Chief Operating Officer in 2008, she was a fan. Today she manages Facebook’s sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. It’s a massive job, but one well suited to Sandberg, who not only built and managed Google’s successful online sales and operations program but also served as an economist for the World Bank and Chief of Staff at the US Treasury Department.

Sandberg’s experience navigating the the complex and socially sensitive world of international economics has proven useful as she and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg work to strike a balance between helping Facebook users control privacy while finding ways to monetize its most valuable asset: data.

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6 comments

  1. Diana Stephenson

    Please tell me something new! The message is clear…of the women who reached the top only 33% had a family. Women cannot have it all and when they have a choice, children are more important than a career. In my experience when the biological clock starts ticking and peer groups are dropping babies, something happens to the psyche of the ‘driven’ professional woman.
    Does is really matter that there are not more women in the boardroom? Do they really want to be there? Has anyone asked these questions?

  2. I definitely think it’s always worth asking those questions Diana!, What Sheryl shares here is that a lot of this is about us. Not sitting at the table is a classic example of this, where through our own behaviour and choices we allow ourselves to be sidelined. And equality at home is something that I think many of us battle with (or at least, I know I do!).

  3. I think this is a great talk.

    I took from this two key points:

    1. Self esteem – as women, we need to cultivate sterling self-esteem, consistently, just to make up the gap. I find this a lot when I’m coaching even the most competent of women to find their Money Mojo.

    2. We need to really pay attention to how to do business as women, instead of trying to be men in the board room especially given the perception that just because we are successful we must have taken on negative male traits… (re: Heidi/Howard point).

    Great talk from a woman who is truly moving and shaking.

    Thanks for sharing this Julie.

  4. Wow. I just love this woman. She’s hit the nail right on the head. We can blame men for gender inequality, but we must accept that we too play a part in keeping ourselves out of the top.

    And to Diana, not all women want to be in the board room, but some do. Why should they be prevented from getting there? Why should only men be allowed to get there? And those women who don’t wish to be there, could it be that some of them might have the desire to get there but are inhibited by the lack of women sitting at the table and acting as role models? Human beings regardless of background or gender should be able to operate on a level playing field so that each can choose to aim high or not as the case may be, rather than be confined to roles they themselves might not have chosen.

  5. Being a woman is definitely challenging but I think its about time we women STOP whining and focus on creating the businesses and lives we want rather than trying to crave a place in a man’s world. I want to sit in a board room but I’d rather be an entrepreneur in my own board room than in the board room of a FTSE company any day. Lets start creating our own boards first.

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