Four years after she published “Lean In,” Sheryl Sandberg is expanding her message of dreaming big and supporting those dreams — for everyone.
In a conversation at the Advancing Women’s Leadership Forum at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, the Facebook operations chief called for better public and corporate policies to support working mothers and fathers. She challenged the world to do better.
“The truth is, men still run the world and I’m not sure it’s going that well,” she said.
Female leadership has stagnated in the United States, Sandberg explained. Women in tech still earn less than men, studies show. And it’s worse for across the nation. Women earn about 79 cents to every dollar their male counterparts make.
Women of color have it particularly bad. According to a 2016 survey, women occupy 3% of top executive jobs even though they make up about a fifth of the national population.
Sandberg said we have a long way to go toward achieving equality.
For example, Sandberg pointed to the fact that women won a fifth of the U.S. Senate seats in 2012.
“The headlines said ‘women take over the Senate. That’s not a takeover, it’s a gap,” she said.
“The real goal should be 50%,” she continued. “The real goal should be the way we look, the race, or the family we were brought into gives us all the same opportunities, and we’re pretty far from that.”
For Sandberg, these problems are fixable. To start, she suggested, everyone should check their own implicit biases and help others accomplish their dreams.
To be successful, she said, is knowing you can’t do it alone and find your support group.
“Resilience applies to a community,” she said she learned following the sudden death of her late husband.
As an example, she pointed to the Posse Foundation, which recruits cohorts of first generation college students to enter universities together. It has a much higher success rate than underprivileged students who go it alone. She attributes this to finding a support circle where you can “give yourself a place to be explicitly ambitious in your goals.”
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