The 10 Most Controversial Things Sheryl Sandberg Just Said About Women

Sheryl Sandberg

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg appeared on “60 Minutes” tonight to explain her controversial views on women in the workplace.Sandberg insists that one reason there are fewer woman in top leadership roles than men is because women hold themselves back.

She says she’s not blaming women. She’s trying to get them to recognise when and why they don’t speak up for themselves.

Sandberg has taken heat over this. Critics say it’s easy for a billionaire, even a self-made one, to tell others that they should be doing more at work and making their husbands do more of the childcare and housework at home.

During this interview with journalist Norah O’Donnell, Sandberg wasn’t over-the-top or abrasive. But she did stand firm.

 Here are the most in-your-face statements she made:

  1. “Men still run the world.”
  2. “Women attribute their success to working hard, luck and help from other people. Men will attribute that same success to their own core skills.”
  3. 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.”
  4. “I’m not suggesting women aren’t ambitious … but when it comes to ambition to lead, to be the leader of whatever you are doing, men/boys outnumber girls/women.”
  5. “My message is not one of blaming women. There’s an awful lot we don’t control, but there is an awful lot we can control and we can do for ourselves, to sit at more tables, raise more hands.”
  6. “I want every little girl who someone says ‘they’re bossy’ to be told instead, ‘you have leadership skills’ because I was told that and because every woman I know who’s in a leadership position was told that.”
  7. “Everyone knows that marriage is the biggest personal decision you make, but it’s the biggest career decision you can make. … Partner with the right person because you cannot have a full career and a full life at home with the children if you are also doing all the housework and childcare.”
  8. “I am not saying everyone has the resources or opportunities I have. I am not saying every husband is going to wake up tomorrow, read a book and do his share. I’m saying that women need to own the power that they have, negotiate for raises.”
  9. “The things that hold women back, hold them back from sitting at the boardroom table and they hold women back from speaking at the PTA meeting.”
  10. “I feel guilty a lot. I compare myself with the women who are home with their kids. I think I’m a little intimidated. Every woman feels guilty about the choices that they make.”

Sandberg admits she’s bothered that there hasn’t been a woman president yet. When O’Donnell asked her why she doesn’t lean in and run for office, Sandberg replied, “I feel that I’m doing all the leaning in I can do right now.”

That’s why so many woman are annoyed. They are doing all the leaning in they can do, too, and are doing it without the benefit of Sandberg’s financial resources.

That said, there’s plenty to like in Sandberg’s bigger message for women – and for men:

  • Challenge yourself
  • Have faith in yourself
  • Get as much help in the home as possible
  • And learn how to negotiate.

Julie Bort is co-author of the parenting book, “mummy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most, and Raise Happier Kids” which she wrote while raising two kids and working full-time as a technology journalist.