Sheryl Sandberg on girls, parenting and 'me too'

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg shares the stage with Menlo Park City School District Superintendent Eric Burmeister on Jan. 17 as part of the district's parent education program. (Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac)

"I would be remiss if I didn't talk a little bit about girls," Sheryl Sandberg told her audience in Menlo Park on Jan. 17.

"It turns out the world is still being run by men. It's really not going well," she said to laughter and applause. "We need to do better."

One thing that needs to change is the expectation that only boys will be leaders, she said.

"Never say the word bossy," she said. "Your daughter's not bossy, she has executive leadership skills," she said to loud laughter.

That line, Ms. Sandberg said, has gotten laughs all over the world. But when she says it and substitutes "son" for "daughter," no one laughs.

"Humor is against expectations," she said, and none of us expect girls to lead.

"We really need our daughters to lead along with our sons," she said.


One of the misinterpretations of me that I always really hate," Ms. Sandberg said, is that her book "Lean In: Women Work and the Will to Lead" was "telling women that they need to work outside the home."

"I believe deeply that the work of raising kids is as important, harder, than any other," she said. "I think it's so important that men should do it, too," she said.

"We'd be a better society if the percentage of parents working inside the home was not four percent men," she said, but instead if half the countries, half the companies and half the homes were run by men and half by women.

'Me too'

"We need systematic change, and that means institution change," Ms. Sandberg said in response to a question about how the momentum of the "Me too" can be sustained.

"The thing I'm really worried about," she said, "is this is going to hurt mentoring for women," Ms. Sandberg said.

"If the backlash to this is men are afraid to talk with women alone, then the pretty abysmal promotion rate women now have is going to go" down even further, she said.

Instead, all managers need to follow the same guidelines for men and women. If women aren't taken on business trips, men shouldn't be either. If an executive is uncomfortable taking a junior woman to dinner; then only take junior men and women to breakfast or lunch, Ms. Sandberg said.

"Access needs to be equal," she said.


See related stories:

Sheryl Sandberg shares: Facebook executive speaks from her heart to her hometown community

Facebook executive shares hard won lessons learned from loss

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6 people like this
Posted by HEG
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2018 at 6:16 am

"Access needs to be equal" Well so long as women [portion removed; don't put words into other people's mouths] demand that all women be believed and thus no men be believed when accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault, then access will not and should not be equal. Don't call it a backlash, call it survival and self defense. [Portion removed] men have to do what they need to in order to not have their lives permanently destroyed at a woman's whim. Women are now told they are free to remove any man they don't like at their workplace. Don't like your boss? Remove him with a claim. Don't like a co-worker? Remove him in a 10 second phone call. So you want access to be equal but demand men who claim innocence not have due process and never be believed. So there is your result. Men never accepting being alone with a woman at work. Men not talking to women unless it has to do directly with work. You want to empower women with weaponizing them with any accusation being a life destroying prospect for men, you have to deal with men doing everything they can to arm themselves to prevent that.

8 people like this
Posted by citizen
a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2018 at 10:05 am

I see HEG you have no concern with the life of the woman that was destroyed. When we have a system where Larry Nassar can abuse over 150 girls and the girls and parents being told "well you will cause lots of problems if you talk" then our
current system is broken!!!!

I will not be eating my Lady Doritos and use my Bic pen for Women and sit and be quiet. We will be heard- that what men have been doing in the work place is not OKAY!!! Do you see what is happening. Women want to be treated with respect and dignity - is that so wrong? Do you want your mother or daughter going to work and having men treat them with such disrespect??

Do you really think women would really just accuse people just because when they become destroyed in the media? Really.

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