“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking!”

By Siya Chhabra (’24)

For the first time in all of American history, a female Vice President was elected. Vice President Kamala Harris not only changed the face of history, but became a condition precedent to what is hopefully a rise in women in leadership in the near future. However, in order to understand the ideology of female leaders, we must revisit the past to recognize why we initially didn’t have an equal ratio of any gender of leaders in the first place. 

Within the confines of March, we, as human beings, celebrate the momentous and significant occasion of Women’s History Month, a time to honor the contributions of women that have both purposefully and inadvertently caused the fabrication of mainstream society into what it is in the present. Each and every one of us should be gratified by recognizing how far the role of females has come from just decades ago. We have advanced from the obtaining of women’s rights as a far-reaching issue, to likely originating a bill composed with the aspiration and intention to honor Harriet Tubman. As a woman of the hour, who so altruistically placed her well-being and security into jeopardy to come to the aid of other individuals who desired to depart from a life of slavery and poverty, she is a renonwned representation of female leaders. However, despite forward movement, there still lingers a significant amount of oppression, with advancement required.This is exactly what is exemplified in a sensationally-presented talk entitled “Why we have too few women leaders,” presented by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, a vexed, but renowned social networking virtual location. 

As a woman who experiences what it is like to be a significant figure in a C-Suite on an executive level, Sandberg exhibits her astonishment as to how meager the percentage of women leaders exist in innovative consortiums. She mentions that this is statistically symbolized in any high role you see in our world.  The point is, as individuals who want an amelioration to this issue, knowing the fact that women are underrepresented is consequential, but one specific aspect of this disquisition enunciates the tragic actuality we are domiciled in. When first searching for a new Ted Talk to analyze and include within Perspicacity and Perception: IA’s Inquisitive Minds, I searched for quite some time to find one related to females, and their world role. After stumbling upon this talk by Sheryl Sandberg, I quickly became so engrossed that I didn’t become conscious of the fact that this talk was given to an audience in 2010. Taking into consideration that this talk was given over a decade ago, it is unfortunate that the reality we still reside within closely resembles that of eleven years ago; almost 4000 days later, here we are, encountering a slightly smaller, but still a doppelgänger of a problem in women leadership. 

You see, Sheryl Sandberg does not accuse anyone or anything for this discrepancy in leadership, she simply states that the status quo is for women to be deferential and submissive, causing such low numbers. From being subjected to a higher level of “working ability,” to being consistently accosted to gender roles, women systematically begin their respective management matches on a disproportionate playing field. Additionally, Sheryl Sandberg mentions a mind-boggling encounter she had. After visiting a company for necessary reasons for multiple hours on end, Sheryl Sandberg asked a male official about the location of a women’s bathroom. Surprisingly, the official had no answer. This wasn’t because he was unaware of the location or that it was occupied. It was because there was no women’s bathroom at the location. At that moment, Sheryl Sandberg recognized how deprived our society was of female leaders. 

In the entirety of the rest of the talk, Sandberg provides three compelling methods as to what women should do to reach and be prepared for life in a C-Suite. These are, “Sit at the table,” “Make your partner a real partner,” and “Do not leave before you leave.” Although not necessarily applicable to every single person, and we are all different, Sheryl Sandberg communicates her struggles, and plays a major role in the future of women in leadership through this talk. Her basis of improving the human condition towards females in general should be taken into consideration. 

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