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Does our culture foster an equal playing field for women? If not, how can the circumstances improve for women? Explain your thoughts.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, has a lot to say on this. Her new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, is all about female ambition, personal and professional ambition, and she tells it like it is. There are barriers to achievement for women, and her view is that women need to “lean in” and go for it, talk about the obstacles to achievement and aim high.
She writes, “The percentage of women at the top of corporate America has barely budged over the past decade.” And the data on women in the workplace supports her arguments. Women hold about 14 percent of executive officer positions, 17 percent of board seats, up from 16 percent in 2007 and 12 percent in 2002 (Spencer Stuart 2012 report). Women account for 18 percent of Congress. For women of color, the situation is worse since they hold only 4 percent of top corporate jobs and 5 percent of the congressional seats. As for pay, The Lowdown looks at earnings equality between men and women:
“……in 2010, female full-time workers made only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to US Census data (and that number drops significantly for black women, and even more for Latinas). Women, on average, earn less than men in almost every occupation for which there is sufficient wage data, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.”
When looking at female aspiration Samberg describes the “leadership ambition gap,” where fewer women than men aspire to senior jobs. “Young women internalize society’s cues about what defines ‘appropriate’ behavior, and, in turn, silence themselves,” writes Sandberg.