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Who runs the world?

September 13, 2017 | Expert Insights

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has spoken against sexism in the world.

During a recent event, she said that “men still run the world” and the current state of affairs aren’t doing “so well.” 


Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American technology executive who is one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook. Prior to joining Facebook, she was the Vice President of global online sales and operations at Google. She was also one of the main people involved in the launch of Google’s philanthropic arm – She is reported to be worth at least $1 billion dollars.

In 2013, she wrote the bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. The book has been hailed as a definitive authority on enabling women across the world to move ahead in their careers. During the period she published her book, she also started the Lean In Foundation. According to the foundation, its mandate is to offer “women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.” She has often spoken about sexism in the Silicon Valley and across the world. Companies such as Uber have been accused of fostering the “bro culture” in the Silicon Valley. Google’s Susan Wojcicki, and former CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, have also spoken about dealing with sexism at the workplace.


Sheryl Sandberg was one of the women who spoke at the Advancing Women’s Leadership forum. During her speech, Sandberg noted that women are often called “bossy” if they assert themselves in the workplace. This isn’t the first time Sandberg has voiced this concern. In fact, under her leadership, the Lean In Foundation once initiated a campaign called #BanBossy.

Sandberg was also candid while speaking about the state of the affairs across the world. She said, “The truth is, men still run the world and I'm not sure it's going that well.” To illustrate this point, she stated that in 2012, women won only a fifth of the US Senate Seats. However, she pointed out that the media reported this as success for women. She said, “The headlines said 'women take over the Senate. That's not a takeover, it's a gap. The real goal should be 50%. The real goal should be the way we look, the race, or the family we were brought into gives us all the same opportunities, and we're pretty far from that." Studies have shown that women in America earn less than their counterparts in the tech field. Additionally, women of color are far more disadvantaged than the others.

This trend is seen nearly across the world including India. The World Bank has revealed that if more women were encouraged to work in India, then its GDP would rise to over 9%.


Our assessment is that sexism is an endemic problem that has to be addressed in nearly every sector across the world. Sandberg is among the few leaders in the Silicon Valley to throw spotlight on this issue. Developing nations like India can grow economically if gender discrimination is holistically addressed.