Sandberg is asking “Can we talk about the main point? Women are not progressing in leadership roles?” You don’t have to agree….but acknowledge that it is time to talk…to surface the issues. To not only raise the feminist flag, but wave it!
Women simply need to get a focused analysis of both self and system. And that’s hard enough when the men are not all in with a similar effort….because men need to do the same thing…but that’s a different subject.
I was involved in the first wave of the new female psychology in the 60’s as a graduate student….to say, as some do, that Sandberg sounds as if she just took a course in women’s studies misses the point. In my experience as a psychologist specializing in the psychology of women, and speaking about it around the country, thousands of women did not GET the points made in those women’s studies courses. We didn’t learn to look at what’s really happening in our organizations. Systems, for the most part, unfortunately, still function as if it’s 1950 and women are home having coffee and focusing on their reflection in their joy washed dishes….you think people don’t think that way? Do you WATCH TV commercials today where women get testy with one another for criticizing their glasses that aren’t shiny enough as are as they are removed from the dishwasher???? If the commercial is played frequently, it means some organization thinks that’s a primary concern of women! Commercials are not selling team building materials that focus on: how is my team at work functioning? And are we getting the job done?
Do I think women should be equally concerned about home and family? Yes, if that’s what they want. If they want both full personal/family lives and successful careers, they have to plan and likely not expect to do it all at the same time. Can you have it all? Possibly, but unlikely not all at the same time. Can you do anything you want? NO! I think it’s destructive to tell kids –female or male –they can do anything they want. Everyone has limitations. Facing them and moving through and beyond them is one thing. Over coming all limitations is not likely! Reality for each of us is knowing what you CAN do well and successfully and concentrating on that rather than believing you can do anything you want….
But I digress. Perhaps one of the most important things women need to understand is HOW MUCH they do or do not understand about the system they are working in and living in. Separate what is YOU and what is the SYSTEM. We are sometimes too good at analyzing ourselves at the cost of understanding externals. Thus I remind women as I speak around the country and try to get them to read my book on power: “Sometimes the reason you feel crazy is because you are in a crazy situation. Not feeling crazy may be the thing that means you really are; and that makes feeling crazy the only possible sane response!” Sometimes it’s the system — not you……