Sheryl Sandberg was hired to be Facebook’s chief operating officer, but she appears to have only been window dressing for gender diversity, given as little experience as she has in the field, and as much time as she spends on championing women’s issues outside of Facebook. But maybe her time spent championing women’s issues is actually why Facebook hired her–to juice its image in the Facebooking public’s eye. As Facebook is a social site, women have got to heavily outnumber men in the numbers of users and their intensity of usage.
Sandberg, along with co-author, Adam Grant, is penning a series in the New York Times on women in the workplace. The NY Times has lately become the official oracle of whining 21st century American women (if you doubt me, see this article on ‘manspreading’ that appeared on the front page a couple of Sunday’s ago). This week’s submission is provocatively titled, “Speaking While Female: Why Women Stay Quiet at Work”.
After citing a few examples of how women were discouraged from speaking by their male counterparts, Sandberg jumps to this conclusion, from the article:
Some new studies support our [anecdotal] observations. A study by a Yale psychologist, Victoria L. Brescoll, found that male senators with more power (as measured by tenure, leadership positions and track record of legislation passed) spoke more on the Senate floor than their junior colleagues. But for female senators, power was not linked to significantly more speaking time.
Though Sandberg and Grant don’t say so explicitly, their underlying assumption is that women who don’t speak up lose out in the corporate power game. They don’t even get that much right, never mind if their anecdotes rise to the level of evidence. The article co-authors admit that there was no correlation between speaking up and power: power was not linked to significantly more speaking time. So if the perspective is turned around, the women who held powerful posts were not required, like their male colleagues, to be seen as constantly speaking on the Senate floor in order to retain it.
Getting that wrong, Sandberg and Grant turn around to the choir and explicitly prescribe that the solution to the problem of women not speaking and being heard is to put more women in positions of power:
The long-term solution to the double bind of speaking while female is to increase the number of women in leadership roles. (As we noted in our previous article, research shows that when it comes to leadership skills, although men are more confident, women are more competent.) As more women enter the upper echelons of organizations, people become more accustomed to women’s contributing and leading.
They actually seem to believe that studies have proved that leadership, a not so readily quantifiable skill, is better accomplished by women and not men. Thus Sandberg and Grant advocate that resolving the problem of women being stereotyped is to devise and claim a more accurate and attractive stereotype. Nobody listens when women talk (a stereotype that could hardly be imagined applies to all women), and women make better leaders than men (a stereotype that is impossible to prove), therefore, if women want to be heard, more leaders should be women.
The article doesn’t explain whether it is only male bosses who ignore their female employees. If female bosses ignore their female employees too, then having more of them in leadership positions would not help women get heard.
Sandberg and Dean apparently understand very little about male-female relationships as they actually exist. While it may well be that lower-ranking women’s opinions are often ignored in the workplace, just like the ideas of lower-ranking men, those same women should be asked about whether their opinions are ignored at home. Or better, ask their husbands. They’d probably find that the men barely get a word in edgewise.
There’s more to power than just corporate leadership, another flawed assumption of Sandberg and Dean’s analysis. And pretty much everywhere but the corporate boardroom, women rule the roost. The ones with the wombs win. Biology demands as much.
Sandberg and Dean are mostly just making this stuff up in order to give women, who seem to always have a deep reservoir of man hatred to draw from (a stereotype screaming for some double blind, exacting proof), justification for why they hate us so.