The chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has recently hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Instead of her phenomenally successful career attracting attention, Sheryl Sandberg has recently come under the glare of the media spotlight for her controversial opinions regarding women in the workplace. According to a report on the website of the Business Insider, the 43-year-old American billionaire who is also a mother of two is facing harsh criticisms over her opinion that women only have themselves to blame for the lack of female leaders in the workplace.
Why women are less successful than men in the workplace
According to a video of an interview shown on the Business Insider, Sheryl Sandberg asserts that one reason why women are not as successful in the workplace is because “we don’t have an equal split in the home”. Sheryl strongly maintains that women contribute a lot more when it comes to household duties which is why men are able to rise higher in the corporate ladder. She states in the interview, “In the home, if a married couple… both worked full-time and have kids, the women will do 2 times the amount of homework and 3 times the amount of childcare as the man.”
She also blames society and its perceptions regarding the roles of men and women. She states “The problem is that we demand and expect professional success from men, (but) it is optional for women and potentially threatening.” She maintains that women are not going to be able to do better if they are holding back in their careers due to the fear of threatening the pride of their spouse.
Starting another women’s revolution?
Apart from her rather controversial views mentioned earlier, some of her comments she made during an interview on 60 minutes with journalist Norah O’Donnell have also raised a few eyebrows. When asked whether she is intending to start another women’s revolution, Sheryl replies with “I guess so.’ It becomes clear as the interview progresses that the basis behind Sheryl’s ‘women’s revolution’ is to change the prevailing mindset of women. Sheryl Sandberg believes that women hold themselves back and this is partly why women are not taking up leadership positions in the workplace. She illustrates this theory with numerous personal anecdotes including a startling confession whereby she confessed that in high school where she was voted ‘Most likely to succeed’, she admitted that she did ‘not want to be (voted) most likely to succeed, “Most likely to succeed’ is not the girl who gets the date to the prom and I was worried enough about that.”
She adds that all her life, she has been pressured to downplay her achievements and has faced many issues of self-doubt and she believes this is common among other women as well. She states, “Women attribute their success to working hard, luck and help from other people. Men will attribute that same success to their own core skills.”
The core reasons behind her belief that “Men still run the world” is because women play too safe and are afraid to succeed or take risks due to their future family commitments. In the interview, she states “Women hurt themselves by ‘leaning back’. They say, I’m busy or I want to have a child one day, I couldn’t possibly take on any more. Or I’m still learning on my current job. I’ve never had a man say that to me.” She further points out that “When it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you are doing, men/boys outnumber girls/women.”
Why she is in hot water
Clearly a highly opinionated woman, her opinions however have drawn the wrath of many people despite her good intentions. Many women feel offended by Sheryl’s opinions which imply that women are not working hard enough. Critics are also pointing out that most women do not have the resources that Sheryl has to be able to juggle both family and career so effortlessly.
Many of her assumptions such as women contributing a lot more at home and women having self-esteem issues also appear questionable. Although she has her fair share of supporters as well, the heated debate which she has stirred up due to her views doesn’t seem to be finishing anytime soon.