Despite several advancements made by women in all fields, they continue to remain underrepresented in leadership positions. Bringing this important issue into focus is Sheryl Sandberg, who made a powerful speech at TedWomen 2010.
“My generation really, sadly, is not going to change the numbers at the top. They’re just not moving. We are not going to get to where 50 per cent of the population — in my generation, there will not be 50 per cent of [women] at the top of any industry. But, I’m hopeful that future generations can,” erstwhile Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said.
“The problem is this: Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 190 heads of state — nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 per cent are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top, C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15, 16 per cent,” she added.
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She asked the audience about the possible solution to this issue. “How do we change these numbers at the top? How do we make this different? I want to start out by saying, I talk about this — about keeping women in the workforce — because I really think that’s the answer,” she added.
She offered her thoughts on the topic and said, “My talk today is about what the messages are if you do want to stay in the workforce, and I think there are three. One, sit at the table. Two, make your partner a real partner. And three, don’t leave before you leave.”
“A study in the last two years of people entering the workforce out of college showed that 57 per cent of boys entering, or men, I guess, are negotiating their first salary, and only seven per cent of women. And most importantly, men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors.”
“Why does this matter? Boy, it matters a lot. Because no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the side, not at the table, and no one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their success, or they don’t even understand their own success,” she continued.
She concluded on a personal note, “I have two children. I have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. I want my son to have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home, and I want my daughter to have the choice to not just succeed, but to be liked for her accomplishments.”