News

View recent news announcements from Parity.org and media coverage from around the web.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sheryl Sandberg: Four years after ‘Lean In’ women are not better off

, USA TODAYPublished 4:04 p.m. ET March 29, 2017 | Updated 10:28 a.m. ET March 30, 2017

Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead launched a national conversation on gender in the workplace and an online community of millions of working women ready to bulldoze the barriers they face, from being paid less and promoted less frequently, to carrying an uneven split of the housework and child care.

Four years later, Sandberg says working women are no better off. They are facing pushback in business and in politics, both in the U.S. and around the world.

But, says Sandberg, “the energy around equality” and the growth of Lean In circles, small support groups inspired by the book and the ongoing work of LeanIn.org to empower women and their ambitions, give her hope that change is coming, if not in the next four years, sooner than we expect.

In an interview with USA TODAY for Women’s History Month, Facebook’s No. 2 executive says she has reshaped some of her thinking on feminism in the workplace after being criticized for only speaking to a very specific group of women—highly educated, skilled professionals frequently privileged by their race—and excluding many lower income women, women of color and single mothers.

And, she says, the election of Donald Trump has made the drive for workplace equality as urgent as ever. Topping her agenda: equal pay, a hike in the federal minimum wage, paid family leave and maternity leave. The interview has been condensed and edited.

Q: It has been four years since the publication of Lean In. Are we better off or worse off four years later?

A: In terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off. We are stuck at less than 6% of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world. There were 19 countries run by women when Lean In was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.

The Lean In Community is thriving and that gives me hope that this will change in the future. We have 1.5 million members of our community, 33,000 circles in 150 countries, and we’re growing by almost 100 a week. And we know that when people join circles, the great majority of them will do something that is much more ambitious for themselves.

The fact that there is so much energy around equality around the world and the fact that so many women are in circles gives me hope that this will change in the future.

Q: What progress do you hope to see women achieve and what will be be the single biggest factor in propelling that progress? 

My goal is very clear, and I wrote about it in Lean In, which is that women run half our companies and countries and men run half our homes. As much as I wish that could happen in four years, I don’t think that’s a likely time period. But I think it can happen sooner than we think. Part of it is having that aspiration and that goal. I think we too often suffer from the tyranny of low expectations.

 

Q: What have you learned since you published Lean In? At the time the book was enormously popular. But you also came under some criticism for being tone-deaf to your privilege as a wealthy, white, married woman with a big support system. How has that criticism reshaped your thinking on feminism and the workplace? (Sandberg’s 47-year-old husband, Silicon Valley executive Dave Goldberg, died suddenly of a heart ailment in 2015).

A: I posted publicly on Mother’s Day last year that I think I didn’t fully appreciate what it was to be a single mother. I certainly wrote about it in Lean In but I also wrote a whole chapter called “Make Your Partner a Real Partner,” which for people who didn’t have one must have been very hard to read.

I have thought a lot about what it is to be a single mother because now I am one. And financially, I don’t face the struggles that so many do. Thirty-seven percent of single mothers are living in poverty, 40% if you are black or Latina. That’s unacceptable.

 

Q: Does the Lean In message resonate with Millennial women who tend to be less trusting of corporate and political leaders than Gen Xers or baby boomers? How are you trying to reach them? 

A: We have broad participation across age groups from college age up in Lean In circles. And I think the message does resonate, mostly because they want equality.

One of the things that I think is working about the Lean In model is that Lean In is about peer support. These are millennial women, largely, working with millennial women to be ambitious in their own lives. Every millennial woman who joins a circle encourages every other millennial woman in her circle to reach out and reach higher and believe in herself. We make a difference person by person.

Q: Does this generation think differently than its predecessors about gender roles and identity?

A: The reason I wrote Lean In is I think people weren’t actually noticing that we had stopped making progress. I gave a TED talk and said: “It turns out men still run the world.” And the audience gasped as if that was news. I think we made so much progress for decades, starting in the 1960s and the 1970s on, that when really the progress stopped, it ground to a halt on leadership roles, on the pay gap, on the percentage of women who are running for office, we didn’t exactly notice. So I think making sure we are correctly looking at where we are. You know, we are 20% in the Congress. We have never had a woman president. We are 5% of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs. Paying attention to that is the first step and understanding that that’s not OK.

Q: You mentioned that we don’t have a woman president. How has the election of Donald Trump affected women and the Lean In movement? What will be the most important issues for women during his administration?

A: I am a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter. I was really disappointed that my children did not see a woman sworn in as president, even though they are young and so I am fully expecting they will, and I’d like it to be sooner rather than later.

Many of the issues we need to work on are as urgent as ever. We are the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have paid maternity leave. The only one. We are one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t have paid family leave. That’s unacceptable. Two thirds of minimum-wage workers are women. Unacceptable. All of these things need to be fixed.

 

Q: The annual study of the state of women in corporate America that Lean In conducts with McKinsey & Co. has elevated issues of female leadership and gender diversity in the national conversation. Are you starting to see any results from it? 

A: We know that companies are changing their policies because of our study. Almost two-thirds of companies that participated are planning to add new programs or update existing ones just based on last year’s results. A lot of companies have this data themselves, but they don’t know what to compare it to. Giving them a snapshot, here’s where you are and here are best practices, we think will make a real difference.

Q: Lean In has a partnership with the NBA that focuses on ways men can promote equality at home and at work. What’s the idea behind the campaign and what kind of reaction have you gotten to the public service announcements?

A: These ads run during NBA games and they run through the playoffs and through the finals. That’s pretty incredible because what you get are men who look up to these NBA players and they are being told these NBA players are great fathers and great sons really believing in women’s equality in the workplace. And we think that people model the behavior of the people they look up to, and to achieve equality we are going to need men on board and these are great role models for men.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/03/29/sheryl-sandberg-interview-lean-in-four-years-later/99749464/

Proud Sponsors of Parity.org:

We’re just getting started! Learn more about the benefits of sponsoring Parity.org here.

Patron

Join our growing list of Founding Members.

Become one of the Founding Members by joining today.


Proud Partners of Parity.org:

Interested in getting more involved with Parity.org? Contact us about a partnership today.

Join our growing list of Friends.

Become a Friend of Parity.org today!

Alessandra
Architect
Jambo capital
Alex Farman-Farmaian
Sales Lead
Carta
Alexi Durant
Senior Project Manager
Tech9
Alex Thayn
Student
Snow College
Amanda McDonald
Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Evelar Solar
Barton Poulson
Founder
datalab.cc
Blake Johnson
Partner
Law Offices of Kurt A. Johnson
Brent Porter
Senior Product Owner
Dell Technologies
Brian voigt
Director a Career Services , Accounting
BYU
Brittany Patterson
Project manager
University of Utah Health
Carrie Norton
Founder & CEO
Green Business BASE CAMP
Catherine Angstman
Na
NA
Charly Kuecks
Consultant
University of Utah
Christina Hall
Client Success Manager
Blacksmith International
Christina Trujillo
Marketing Manager
CenturyLink
Curtis Humphrey
Account Manager
DataBank
Cy Dyar Eaton
Student
LDSBC
Darlene Diplock
Sr. Sales Performance Consultant
HUB International
Derek Naegle
Student
Utah State University MHR
Frank Grant
Managing Director
Solganick & Co.
Glen Turnbow
Software developer
NA
Gustavo rivera
Account Executive
Carta
Jackson Porter
Student
Snow College
James Fike
Director Engineering, Information Systems
NICE InContact
Jay Williams
Partner & Founder
Contravent
Jennifer Gudmundson
Internal Audit Manager
Overstock.com
Jessie Laurash
Content
Parity.org
Jim Mackey
Territory Manager
Veeam Software
Joe Wilson
Head of Product
Cake Technology
Judy Pierce
Senior Technical Support Engineer
Oracle
Juliana DeMay
Digital Marketing Manager
Fluid Advertising
Justin King
AE
Carta
Kami Wilson
Full-stack Web Developer
OC Tanner
Kim Mueller
VP Finance
Pelion Venture Partners
Nate jackson
Strategy
Stoke
Rhett Wilkinson
staff writer
ami
Russell Lewis
Sr Product Manager
Adobe (company)
Ryan Hutchins
Senior Analyst
Economics Partners, LLC
Ryan Taylor
Founder / Owner
LGBT Financial
Sam Petersen
Content Marketing Manager
Sorenson Media
Seth Lyon
Systems Engineer
Workfront
Travis Marble
Lead developer
Centeva
Trey Bean
VP Product
Kuali, Inc.
Victoria Vincent
Analyst
Overstock