Suzanna Conrad

Information Professional

I still think Sheryl Sandberg rules

Today, the Daily Beast posted an article about Sheryl Sandberg claiming that she might be leaning out now instead of leaning in at Facebook. For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book about how women should "lean in" to professional opportunities and she has done a number of speaking engagements about the same topic. I think female leaders have to come forward and make statements like these - because there are perceived and real differences in the workplace for men and women. Am I a feminist? I've never thought of myself as being particularly outspoken about these issues, but workplace equality or even semi-equality is important to me. But I have a gender. If someone were to describe me they would likely use my gender if it wasn't already clear from my name. I am OK with being referred to as a female. I am also OK with my successes being associated with me and my gender being used as an identifier.

The article itself was ...meh...ok. It made some good points about Sheryl Sandberg's lack of upward trajectory at Facebook as a decent reason that she might consider other alternatives, but overall I didn't think her statements implied any of the conclusions the author came to. But the comments on the article, those were a lot more disturbing. Particularly, "This woman is a wretched, over-entitled, self-promoter who contributes little to her employers. With Sheryl it's all about her, her, her." Really? She's done nothing for her company? Or for other women's self-esteem and attitudes?

Why is it that it is bad to draw attention to female successes and point out the gender of the woman having the success? It is true that there are less female leaders, especially in the tech world, and to say that Sheryl Sandberg should stop promoting herself seems silly to me: her self promotion gets the conversations started. Her self promotion draws attention to the inequities in many industries between male and female leaders.

Ok. Public rant out.