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September 13 2017

Sandberg: Men Still Run the World and It's Not Going That Well

by Charlotte Hays

Sheryl Sandberg, whose book Lean In contained some excellent ideas (and some iffy ideas) has expanded her purview. Ms. Sandberg is now saying that "men still run the world" and that things are "not going that well." CNN reports:

In a conversation at the Advancing Women's Leadership Forum at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, the Facebook operations chief called for better public and corporate policies to support working mothers and fathers. She challenged the world to do better.

"The truth is, men still run the world and I'm not sure it's going that well," she said.

Female leadership has stagnated in the United States, Sandberg explained. Women in tech still earn less than men, studies show. And it's worse for across the nation. Women earn about 79 cents to every dollar their male counterparts make.

Women of color have it particularly bad. According to a 2016 survey, women occupy 3% of top executive jobs even though they make up about a fifth of the national population.

First off, Ms. Sandberg should know that the 79 cents on the dollar gender wage gap has been debunked again and again. If the choices women make are factored in, the gap shrinks to a few cents.

Sandberg then turns to electoral politics:

Sandberg said we have a long way to go toward achieving equality.

For example, Sandberg pointed to the fact that women won a fifth of the U.S. Senate seats in 2012.

"The headlines said 'women take over the Senate. That's not a takeover, it's a gap," she said.

"The real goal should be 50%," she continued. "The real goal should be the way we look, the race, or the family we were brought into gives us all the same opportunities, and we're pretty far from that."

We would love for more women to seek and win electoral office, but we are more interested in what a candidate believes than his or her anatomy. And I'll bet that Ms. Sandberg would not be pleased if fifty percent of the Senate became female if most of those women were, say, conservative Republicans.

And now on to solutions:

For Sandberg, these problems are fixable. To start, she suggested, everyone should check their own implicit biases and help others accomplish their dreams.

To be successful, she said, is knowing you can't do it alone and find your support group.

"Resilience applies to a community," she said she learned following the sudden death of her late husband.

As an example, she pointed to the Posse Foundation, which recruits cohorts of first generation college students to enter universities together. It has a much higher success rate than underprivileged students who go it alone. She attributes this to finding a support circle where you can "give yourself a place to be explicitly ambitious in your goals."

Well, I'm all for checking your biases and helping others accomplish goals.

And the Posse Foundation, which helps minority kids succeed in college, sounds like a worthy cause. But it's also important to remember that we go to college to meet people from different backgrounds and it's sometimes good to get out of the posse of people who are just like ourselves.

Sandberg had some good ideas in Lean In. It's disappointing to see her leaning into cliches and debunked stats.   

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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