Career Management Skills: Why we have Too Few Women Leaders

Terrific TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, on why we have too few women leaders and what we can do about it:

In summary, her three key points are:

  • Sit At The Table – “women systematically underestimate their own abilities” and men systematically overestimate theirs. Men attribute their success to themselves, while women attribute theirs to other external factors like help, luck and hard work. And to top it off, success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. The result is that women don’t negotiate for themselves in the workforce or go for certain promotions because at some core level, they don’t feel they deserve it or are wary they won’t be liked for it.
  • Make Your Partner A Real Partner – If a man and woman have a child and both are working, even in this day and age, the woman is likely to be doing twice the amount of housework and three times the amount of childcare which means they are more likely to be the one drop out of the workforce, if more time is required at home.
  • Don’t Leave Before You Leave – Many women will start backing down from opportunities, or not raising their hand for promotions, because they’re planning marriage or children some time down the track. Sheryl suggests it’s critical to keep exploring opportunities even well into pregnancy. You’re going to want to come back to something rewarding, fulfilling, challenging and that makes you feel you’re making a difference, and that won’t be the case if you’ve held yourself back earlier on.
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