Why are so few women in senior management? According to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, it’s because women haven’t taken enough responsibility in advocating their own success—and it’s about time they stepped up and got themselves out of this “stalled revolution.” In her newly released book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Succeed, Sandberg argues that when it comes to climbing the ladder in corporate America, women are their own worst enemies.
“We’ve ceased making progress at the top in any industry anywhere in the world,” Sandberg writes. “In the United States, women have had 14 percent of the top corporate jobs and 17 percent of the board seats for 10 years. Ten years of no progress,” despite the fact that women now earn more bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees than men.
Sandberg’s advice to women? Don’t get a mentor if you want to excel—you need to excel first, then you’ll get a mentor. It’s a philosophy that has sparked a significant debate, especially since her viewpoint relieves many organizations of the responsibility of promoting equality in the workplace and advocating cultural-competence education, writes Barbara Frankel, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor, DiversityInc.