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Sandberg talks about how to ‘Lean In’ in Beijing

Sheryl Sandberg Photo: Billie Feng

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, encouraged the young women to pursue their own career ambitions and achieve a balance between family and work during a lecture themed “Lean In” to Chinese students at Peking University on September 12.

Noting that prejudice against women can be found everywhere around the globe, Sandberg asked if women can hold up half the sky, can they also have half the seats in every boardroom in the world?

She made three suggestions to get more equality for women and create an equal world. First, she suggested addressing the stereotypes that hold women back. She said women are considered aggressive when they become successful, which is an absolute stereotype against women. “That’s why we live in a world where we graduate equal or greater numbers of girls yet our companies and countries are still run by men. Until we change these stereotypes, we’ll never get as many women to succeed,” Sandberg said.

The second suggestion she made was to change corporate policies. “Everywhere in the world men

The book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

get paid more than women for the same jobs, but we deserve to be equally paid,” she said.

Finally, she mentioned achieving balance at home. “We’ll never achieve balance in the workforce until we achieve equality at home. In every country women do more child care and housework. We’ll never get women to be treated equally with equal opportunity at work if there is no equal responsibility at home.”

Sandberg wrote a book named Lean In, which has been translated into Chinese and published in July. Once she played a song for her little daughter about the American president, and her daughter asked, “Why are they all boys?” That’s what inspired her to write the book. Along with the release of the book, Sandberg started a foundation called LeanIn.Org, which helps women meet regularly and support each other.

At the end of the lecture, Sandberg posed a question to everyone in the meeting hall—how are you going to lean in? “The answer to that question is how all of us together will create a better world,” she said.

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