Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg On Women Underestimating Themselves In The Workplace

“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not looked over and ignored … I encourage you to think big. Studies show very clearly that in our country in the college-educated part of the population, men are more ambitious than women. They’re more ambitious the day they graduate college; they remain ambitious every step along the career path. We will never close the achievement gap until we close the ambition gap. But if all young women start to lean in, we can close the ambition gap right here, right now, if every single one of you leans in. Leadership belongs to those who take it. Leadership belongs to you.”


“The next step is you’re going to have to believe in yourself, potentially more than you do today. Studies also show that compared to men, women underestimate their performance. If you ask men and women questions about completely objective criteria like GPAs or sales goals, men get it wrong slightly high, women get it wrong slightly low. More importantly, if you ask men why they succeeded, men attribute that success to themselves while women attribute it to other factors, like working hard or help from others. Ask a woman why she did well on something, she’ll say, ‘I got lucky. All of these great people helped me. I worked really hard.’ Ask a man and he’ll say, ‘What a dumb question: I’m awesome!’ So women need to take a page from men and own their own success.”

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, spoke yesterday at commencement for Barnard (alma mater of our Kate!). I’ve posted video of the whole speech above — and it’s really, really good — but this is my fave part. [All Things Digital]

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