by Grace aka costofcollege
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and one of the most successful women in the field of technology, has urged women to “lean in” to achieve ambitious career goals. She wants us to break down barriers, both external and internal, so that more women will be represented in leadership positions of business and government.
I was struck by Sandberg’s own struggle with self doubt.
She grew up in an affluent household, the daughter of a doctor and a college teacher. Presumably she enjoyed many advantages and abundant encouragement from that upbringing, yet she remembers being told to tamp down her ambitions.
I am a bit older than Sandberg and grew up in different circumstances, lacking the advantages of her upper-class upbringing. Yet I don’t remember being told to hold back on my accomplishments. Sure, there were times when I was discouraged from pursuing lofty ambitions, but it seems those were the exceptions. It’s a bit puzzling why Sandberg felt so constrained and I did not. Was I just oblivious to the negative messages all around me?
Have you or the women you know been told to hold back on being too successful? Do you think you may be sending that message to your daughters or other young women? Does society send that message? If so, why do some women seem to ignore this negative directive?
Should we be encouraging women to lean in to create a society where they run half our countries and companies while men run half our homes?
Sadly, Sandberg’s husband died unexpectedly earlier this month, leaving her a widow with two young children. She has returned to work on a modified schedule. She “will not be doing any traveling for the time being and will adopt a slightly modified schedule that fits with when her children are at school”.