Sheryl Sandberg: Successful women are disliked

Facebook's chief operating officer explaining unconscious gender bias on Radio 4...

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer has spoken openly about unconscious gender bias and the fact women’s voices are not equally heard in society on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Sandberg, who was recently ranked eighth on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women speaks openly about issues that others would shy away from. She made waves a few years back talking about the perpetuated stereotypes children are raised with.

She said: ‘There’s a national retailer which printed t-shirts for girl and boy babies. The boys’ said “Smart Like Daddy”, the girls’ said “Pretty Like Mommy”. Not in the 1950s, but two years ago. It’s those stereotypes. We raise our daughters and tell them they’re bossy. We never use that word for little boys – little boys are supposed to lead. So we raise boys and men to be leaders and girls and women to be nurturers.’

She also cited the Howard/Heidi study, where two professors took a case study of a successful venture capitalist named Heidi Roizen and changed the name on the case study to Howard. They then asked a group of students to rate both Heidi and Howard.

Sandberg says: ‘It showed that as men get more powerful they get more liked by men and women, and as women get more powerful they’re less liked. The students thought Howard was a great guy – they wanted to work for him and hang out with him on the weekends. But Heidi … She was a little political, she was a little out-for-herself, she was a little aggressive.’

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