By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

What does Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg really want? Some say she’s an outspoken elitist and stirring up the mommy wars, while others say her stance is brave and ground-breaking. Here’s an up close and personal video of Sandberg’s recent San Francisco speech where she outlines five important things she wants. Hear her manifesto, read her arguments in her own words, and then make up your own mind.

1. Change Male/Female Stereotypes

Sandberg asks:  Have you ever called a little girl “bossy”? Or seen it happen? Next time you witness it, she says, “Walk up to that person, whether you know them or not, big smile on your face, and say, ‘your daughter’s not bossy, your daughter has executive leadership skills.'”

2. Change male/female expectations

Have you ever been asked ‘should you be working?’ Sandberg points out that this is a question women often get asked, never men. She says, “We need to help our sons nurture, we need to help our husbands be good fathers, and we need to have equal expectations (for both sexes).”


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3. Create equality at home

Sandberg points out that worldwide, women do the great majority of the child care and the housework; and since most women are working full time, they have two jobs while men have one. She even shares evidence of the correlation between husbands doing laundry and sex. 

“We are never ever going to get to equality in the workplace until we get to equality in the home.” Sheryl Sandberg.
4. Ask: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

“Would you reach for? Would you reach to be CEO, would you lead something you’re not leading? I want you to think of just one thing you would do.” Sheryl Sandberg.
5. Bring an honest conversation about gender to work and home.

“Together we are going to break through the stagnation for women in leadership and together we are going to create a better world.” Sheryl Sandberg.

So, are you convinced?

I’m certainly impressed with the simplicity of Sandberg’s message and the way she delivers it logically, calmly, and with humor. She refrains from being whiny or strident and is using her powerful platform effectively. Sandberg makes a strong case for more women in the workforce increasing each company’s, (even each country’s) productivity, but I fear that most women I know are too busy struggling with the juggle to join her Lean In Movement in droves.

Nevertheless, I find it hard to resist her fourth call to action: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? I can think of at least one thing…Can you?

Sandberg addressed an audience of 4000 businesswomen at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, PBWC Conference on May 23, 2013. Read more about her speech and the audience reaction. And learn more here about her Lean In book and movement

And join the conversation here 

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