Facebook COO Sandberg says women must ‘lean in’ to get ahead in new book

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Women, work and the will to lead

Women, work and the will to lead

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and eighth on the Fortune’s list of The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, has written a book offering her insights on women, work, family and ambition.

Lean in was developed from Sandberg’s provocative and widely-viewed 2010 TED talk, where she expressed concern progress for women in achieving leading positions in business and government has stalled.

“I wrote Lean in to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can,” said Sandberg.

In her two decades in the professional world, Sandberg said she has watched talented women pull back from their careers over and over in responses to obstacles both internal and external.

Lean in examines these obstacles and offers advice to help overcome them. In Lean in, she urges women to sit at the table, seek challenges, take risks and pursue their goals enthusiastically. She encourages them to think big and support each other.

“I wrote Lean in so women can increase their chances of making it to the top of any field or pursue any goal with gusto. And I wrote it for men who want to understand the challenges women face so they can do their part to build an equal world. Women do not have to lower our expectations of what we can achieve in the workplace. In so many situations, instead of pulling back, we should be leaning in.”

  • Among current statistics are the following figures:
  • Of 197 heads of state, only 22 are women
  • Women currently hold 29% of senior level management jobs in Europe
  • In the FTSE 100, 16% of board posts are held by women
  • Women hold only 20% of seats in parliament globally
  • Only 18 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women

In Lean in Sandberg writes with candour about her own personal and professional experiences, referring to conflicts encountered and mistakes made along the way. She argues true equality still eludes us, backing up her experiences and observations with salient research and hard data.

Prior to her current role at Facebook, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. She previously served as chief of staff for the US Treasury Department under President Clinton. Her career began as an economist with the World Bank and she is the recipient of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Harvard University.

Sandberg sits on the boards of Facebook, The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, The Centre for Global Development, ONE and V-Day.

Sandberg is married with two young children and lives in California.

Lean in publishes in hardback tomorrow, priced at £14.99.

Sandberg is donating all income from this book to establish Lean In.org, a non-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging women to lean in to their ambitions.