Sheryl Sandberg: We need to get rid of the word 'bossy'
December 9, 2013

The manager of Facebook's sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications, Sheryl Sandberg, is working hard on the global stage for an equal position for women in the workforce, but she’s not confident that the situation will change soon.

At TEDWomen 2010 Sandberg gave a talk on women and leadership that started her off on a path as one of the world’s most prominent advocates for women’s equality. Since then her book Lean In has led to the formation of 12,000 ‘circles’ in 50 countries where women meet each month to encourage and inspire each other to be more confident and demand equal treatment in the workplace.

Speaking to co-host Pat Mitchell at one of the TEDWomen 2013 Q&A sessions, Sandberg said men are still regarded as the superior gender in many cultures. They are encouraged to be strong and assertive, but when a woman is strong and assertive she is labeled as 'bossy'.

'It's so hard to talk about gender. We shy away from 'feminist', and it's a word I think we have to embrace. We need to get rid of the word 'bossy'; and bring back the word 'feminist''.

She explained that her book is about self-confidence and equality. One subtle way women know that they are not regarded as equally capable than men and therefore lack confidence, is this questions often asked of high-performing women, but never of high-performing men: How do you do it all? 'We assume men can do it all, and we assume women can't. That's ridiculous.'

Sandberg has discovered that women are indeed standing up and demanding more, saying that everywhere she goes CEOs tell her that she is costing them a lot of money because their female employees are demanding higher salaries. These encounters give the impression that things are changing for the better for women, but Sandberg says things are not changing fast enough.

In fact, the latest census data show that women still earn, at best, 77 cents to every dollar that a men earn and this has not changed since 2002.

Source: TEDWomen blog