Facebook chief operating officers Sheryl Sandberg gave a few candid interviews for an online series, "Makers" that stated several times that the reason more women aren't in higher echelons of business or politics is because many choose to drop out of the workforce -- because of men.
"Success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women," Sandberg said in an interview. "A woman, if you're most intelligent or most likely to succeed, that's an embarrassing thing or something that's not considered attractive, and I think that's what we need to change."
Sandberg then spends a few interviews stating that it's the inequity in the home that kills off most of women's ambition and energy. The "second shift" of working mothers and society making women in charge of child rearing and housework has continued a male hierarchy. "If women are default in charge they will never succeed as much as men do in the workplace," she said. "And so when it comes time to drop out of the workforce, who drops out? The person who feels like they can't do it all."
The series, a joint effort between PBS and AOL, also highlighted her thoughts on her failed first marriage, working at Google and Facebook and the gender divide in Silicon Valley. (The gender divide is about one's technical ability as much as it is about one's sex, she says, which she hopes changes as more women major in computer science.)
What's odd is that CNET reported that Sandberg said, "The most important thing -- and I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it a hundred times -- if you marry a man, marry the right one. If you can marry a woman, that's better because the split between two women in the home is pretty even, the data shows." Granted, CNET took this controversial little nugget from The Huffington Post, but nowhere in the numerous short videos from the Makers series did we find Sandberg making that statement.
Sandberg's short sound bytes show her as a fairly confident and pragmatic businesswoman. Although nothing she says is overly controversial or inflammatory, she does manage to call herself a feminist, praise Oprah and says she feels guilty checking her BlackBerry while at home. All in all, the Web series shows her as human, interesting and likable, something that bodes well for the Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook brands.