Women Lack Commitment – WHAT??

fearLet me start by saying that I admire and respect the accomplishments of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. However, I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with her points of views in this realm.

Take the article in by Emma Rowley entitled Future Moms are Wrecking Their Own Career.that appeared in Business Insider. Sheryl somehow believes that “women’s lack of commitment, even before they have a family, is why so few make  it to the top.”


“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking  self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be  leaning in,” Sandberg writes, according to a preview in the New York Times. “We  internalise the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that  say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our  own expectations of what we can achieve.”

As a result, she says many women are quietly checking out of their careers,  years before they actually start a family. She believes women rarely make a  sweeping decision to give up work to look after children, but instead make a  string of choices from early on that propel them towards that end result, none  the less.

Wait a minute. What about the women who are leaning in to their careers but the corporate culture doesn’t support the same advancement for women as men? Is Sheryl suggesting that it is the woman’s fault if she doesn’t achieve the same level of success as the men around her?

It is a bit frustrating to read her comments because I do not feel that I (or other women I know) have taken our foot off the pedal as Sheryl has  suggested.  In fact, my company hardly noticed I had two kids over the last seven years.  I took little time off and made a point to continue to deliver beyond expectations.

I have brought my A game and it has been confirmed in stellar performance reviews and peer review.   Yet, I have not moved up in the corporate ladder as fast or with as much support as my male peers.

I do not want to read another article that suggest women are not showing-up.  I see women showing up prepared, effective and out performing many of their counterparts, so they can leave at 5:30 (often getting back on at 9 PM for several hours) yet many are not being promoted as their results suggest they should be.

I am not sure I entirely agree with her comments but I will have to read the book to make a final opinion. What I do know is that it is important to pick companies and managers that support and promote women that deliver value.

Let’s hope Sheryl is championing women and not adding another burden on our backs and something more that we have to feel guilt about.

What do you think? Is Sheryl right – are we not leaning into the opportunities? Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (WH  Allen) is available to pre-order from Telegraph  Books