Sheryl Sandberg has a fantastic TED talk that covers some fresh ground on what keeps women out of leadership positions.
Most talks on this topic rely on the same community-focused ideas (mentor younger women, vocally support female colleagues, build businesses that support flexible work hours, etc.), but Sanberg focuses on the 3 things we have to do for ourselves:
1. Sit at the table.
A senior government official came for a meeting with Sandberg and other execs in Silicon Valley. Sandberg arrived and took a seat at the table the meeting was to be held around, as did the government official. Two women who were travelling with the government offical, and were pretty senior, chose to sit in chairs along the edge of the room, instead of at the table.
"Why does it matter?" asks Sandberg. "Boy, it matters a lot because no one gets the corner office by sitting on the side, not at the table."
2. Make your partner a real partner.
"I’m convinced that we’ve made more progress in the workforce than we have in the home. The data shows this very clearly. If a woman and a man work full-time and have a child, the woman does twice the amount of housework the man does, and the woman does three times the amount of childcare the man does. So she’s got three jobs or two jobs, and he’s got one. Who do you think drops out when someone needs to be home more?"
3. Don't leave before you leave.
"From the moment [a woman] starts thinking about having a child … she doesn't raise her hand anymore, she doesn't look for a promotion, she doesn't take on the new project … she starts leaning back.
I'm here to tell you, once you have a child at home, your job better be really good to go back, because it's hard leaving a child at home -- your job needs to be challenging. It needs to be rewarding. If two years ago you didn't take a promotion … you stopped looking for new opportunities, you're going to be bored. Keep your foot on the gas pedal ... don't leave before you leave."
18 minutes that are well worth it: