Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of the 2013 bestseller Lean In, renewed her fight for female empowerment, arguing that girls need to be taught from an early age that they, too, can be leaders.
“We start telling little girls not to lead at very young ages, and we start telling little boys to lead at very young ages, and that’s a mistake,” Facebook Sandberg told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, one of the corporation’s most popular and long-running radio programs.
She chose Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” as her first song, because “all over the world we expect men to lead and women to do for others.” Beyoncé’s message is important for both boys and girls to hear, to understand that women can also lead, Sandberg said.
Following the publication of Lean In, Sandberg quickly rose to fame as a champion for female empowerment in the workplace.
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While Sandberg is now estimated to be worth $1.7 billion, she explained that she experienced self-doubt while studying at Harvard and recognized that women more frequently underestimated their own worth than men. This often prevents them from putting themselves forward or asking for a pay rise.
One of the first steps to overcome this, she argued, is to work harder to close the gender pay gap and start paying women well. “Certainly, women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that has got to be part of the answer,” Sandberg continued.
According to an April 2017 report from the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in the U.S. are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. Of course, the pay gap is not only relevant to the U.S. The BBC itself recently disclosed its own significant gender pay gap, revealing that the top male presenters earn up to five times as much as their female counterparts.