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TED Talk Review: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

What women should strive to do in order to change the gender ratios of the workforce

Aubrey Pritchett, Staff Writer

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In December of 2010, Sheryl Sandberg gave a TED talk about “why we have too few women leaders.” Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, focuses on what women should do differently as individuals. Living in the United States, women are fortunate enough to have basic civil rights. But for other women around the world, they are not as fortunate. Compared to 40 years ago, more career choices have opened up for women. Despite this, women continue to remain at the bottom of job positions.  Statistically speaking, out of 190 heads of state, only 9 are women. In parliament, only 13% are women. Additionally, in both the non-profit and corporate sectors, less than 21% are women. By offering 3 crucial pieces of advice, Sandberg hopes to better guide women as they try to reach for higher job positions.

Sandberg considers one of the problems to be the tough decision for women between “professional success and personal fulfillment”. This decision leads to women dropping out of the work force.  Around the time when women begin to think they want to have kids, women stop trying in the workforce, failing to strive for a promotion or raise.  Sandberg suggests that women should therefore give 110% until they have to take a break for a child. But for most women, it is hard for them to return to work after having children. The key is; stay in the workforce. This increases the chance of more women reaching higher job positions.

In a marriage, it is proven that the wife does twice as many household chores than the husband does. This leads to a second problem because the wife feels more obligated to leave work if she is needed at home. One of the causes, as Sandberg puts it, is, “as a society, we put more pressure on our boys to succeed than we do on our girls”. Working at home is a hard job for both men and women. As a man, if you work at home, it is not as socially acceptable as a woman who works at home. This is something that needs to improve in order for more women to stay apart of the workforce.

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Another problem Sandberg discusses is how women do not have enough self confidence. Especially in the 21st century, the pressure to look perfect is higher than ever. The lack of self-confidence is evident in the work force. Tests show that “women systematically underestimate their own abilities”. “Men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors.” Women do not give themselves enough credit. Therefore, they do not take enough pride in their success. As a result of this, women do not fight enough for themselves in the workforce.

Sheryl Sandberg creates an alternative point of view on how women can better themselves to become more successful in the world today. The viewer can gather how women should enforce themselves to take charge more often. When it comes to the workforce, it’s okay to be selfish; as a woman, you need to fight more for what you want. Also, be proud of your abilities.

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TED Talk Review: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders