Why Don’t We Have More Women Leaders?

When Sheryl Sandberg spoke this summer at the Global Leadership Summit , she said that young girls who show leadership skills are called “bossy”. When she suggested that they be told they have “executive leadership skills” instead, the room exploded in laughter. When it died down, she asked if it was as funny when you substitute “boy” for “girl”. It wasn’t. That’s because, despite our striving for equality, women are still less likely to be leaders.

According to Sandberg, “If you look at the world, women do 66 percent of the work in the world. Woman produce 50 percent of the food. Women make 10 percent of the income and women own 1 percent of the property. We are 50 percent of the population. We are 5 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs,” Sandberg said. “We are 17 percent of the board seats. We are 19 percent in Congress. That’s not enough for 50 percent of the population. We live in a world that is overwhelming run and owned by men.” http://abcn.ws/1g0oE7N

In her 2010 TED talk, Sandberg says that success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women, suggesting that women have to choose between their career and their friends, while men are expected to have both.

Four years later, she spoke again in an interview with Pat Mitchell. She talks about the challenges of being a woman in business, and about how the issues of gender are universal, about how women are asked “how they do it all” while men are expected to be able to handle both family and career. When asked if her message had changed in four years, she said the only thing she would change was to speak with a stronger voice.

To help women succeed in life, Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has started “Lean In”. The goal of this organization with is to help empower women and help them achieve their ambitions. They do this in three ways:

  1. Lean In Circles, which are small groups/circles that meet regularly for growth and encouragement. World-wide, there are more than 34 000 groups, and of these groups, more than 85% of the members report a positive change in their lives (https://leanin.org/about);
  2. An annual campaign, which highlights one of the topics that are crucial to women in the workplace. Check out their most recent campaign.  They also have a collected a gallery of images that show women as leaders and men as caregivers, in an effort to overturn gender stereotypes.
  3. An annual Women in the Workplace Study. “Women in the Workplace is a study of the state of women in corporate America conducted annually by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to promote female leadership and foster gender diversity in the workplace. In 2017, 222 companies employing more than 12 million people participated, making it the most comprehensive annual review of its kind.” https://leanin.org/about

This Lean-In movement has reached across the world, with Lean-in Circles in more than 150 countries. The web site offers many resources as well. The Lean In Facebook page has more than 2 million followers. I would say that this is not going away anytime soon.

I’m sure there are arguments that can be made on the other side of this opinion as well. Do you think gender equality is important in our work places and our homes?


Why don’t women have more equality in the work place?  Check out what Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook has to say about that:  http://bit.ly/2y1ej1m



Check out what Sheryl Sandberg is talking about #Lean In, http://bit.ly/2y1ej1m



7 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Have More Women Leaders?

  1. This is a great post! As a mother to a daughter, I have to say that this concerns me now more than ever before. I honestly cannot stand when people call my daughter bossy. I frequently say back that ‘she’s not bossy, she has excellent leadership skills’. I truly believe that we have a long way to go to be able to overcome the issues surrounding gender equality. If we look at pay equity as an example, the recent figures show that it will take 170 years to resolve that issue. I personally am not willing to wait that long to see the type of change that is required. Thanks for writing this piece and highlighting a really important issue.

  2. Very well wrote blog. The stats make me feel sick when I read them, and I read them over again in shock. I believe in equality for all and am feminist and know that we need more women leaders. Sheryl Sandberg is well spoken and a great author, I recently finished her last book “Option B”

  3. Excellent post. The brevity worked for me because they teed up the videos and the videos did the work. Sandberg’s candid personal style has a way of informing me, persuading me and making me reflect on the gender dynamics over my career. I’ve worked with and for some very strong women — and with and for some progressive men, but also with some men who have a ways to go in abandoning or overcoming subtle yet sexist attitudes.

  4. I can totally relate to your post. I find it fascinating that women are held to a totally different leadership style than men. I once heard an interview on CBC by Jill Abramson, who had risen to the top of her field and then subsequently let go. She speaks about the different standards of leadership that women must follow compared to men. Where men might be considered strong, women are labelled as ‘bitches’. As the mother of two girls, I’m hoping that things begin to change as my girls enter the workforce. Great work in discussing an important topic!

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