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  • So for any of us in this room today,

  • let's start out by admitting we're lucky.

  • We don't live in the world

  • our mothers lived in, our grandmothers lived in,

  • where career choices for women were so limited.

  • And if you're in this room today,

  • most of us grew up in a world

  • where we had basic civil rights,

  • and amazingly, we still live in a world

  • where some women don't have them.

  • But all that aside, we still have a problem,

  • and it's a real problem.

  • And the problem is this:

  • Women are not making it

  • to the top of any profession

  • anywhere in the world.

  • The numbers tell the story quite clearly.

  • 190 heads of state --

  • nine are women.

  • Of all the people in parliament in the world,

  • 13 percent are women.

  • In the corporate sector,

  • women at the top,

  • C-level jobs, board seats --

  • tops out at 15, 16 percent.

  • The numbers have not moved since 2002

  • and are going in the wrong direction.

  • And even in the non-profit world,

  • a world we sometimes think of

  • as being led by more women,

  • women at the top: 20 percent.

  • We also have another problem,

  • which is that women face harder choices

  • between professional success and personal fulfillment.

  • A recent study in the U.S.

  • showed that, of married senior managers,

  • two-thirds of the married men had children

  • and only one-third of the married women had children.

  • A couple of years ago, I was in New York,

  • and I was pitching a deal,

  • and I was in one of those fancy New York private equity offices

  • you can picture.

  • And I'm in the meeting -- it's about a three-hour meeting --

  • and two hours in, there kind of needs to be that bio break,

  • and everyone stands up,

  • and the partner running the meeting

  • starts looking really embarrassed.

  • And I realized he doesn't know

  • where the women's room is in his office.

  • So I start looking around for moving boxes,

  • figuring they just moved in, but I don't see any.

  • And so I said, "Did you just move into this office?"

  • And he said, "No, we've been here about a year."

  • And I said, "Are you telling me

  • that I am the only woman

  • to have pitched a deal in this office in a year?"

  • And he looked at me, and he said,

  • "Yeah. Or maybe you're the only one who had to go to the bathroom."

  • (Laughter)

  • So the question is,

  • how are we going to fix this?

  • How do we change these numbers at the top?

  • How do we make this different?

  • I want to start out by saying,

  • I talk about this --

  • about keeping women in the workforce --

  • because I really think that's the answer.

  • In the high-income part of our workforce,

  • in the people who end up at the top --

  • Fortune 500 CEO jobs,

  • or the equivalent in other industries --

  • the problem, I am convinced,

  • is that women are dropping out.

  • Now people talk about this a lot,

  • and they talk about things like flextime and mentoring

  • and programs companies should have to train women.

  • I want to talk about none of that today,

  • even though that's all really important.

  • Today I want to focus on what we can do as individuals.

  • What are the messages we need to tell ourselves?

  • What are the messages we tell the women who work with and for us?

  • What are the messages we tell our daughters?

  • Now, at the outset, I want to be very clear

  • that this speech comes with no judgments.

  • I don't have the right answer.

  • I don't even have it for myself.

  • I left San Francisco, where I live, on Monday,

  • and I was getting on the plane for this conference.

  • And my daughter, who's three, when I dropped her off at preschool,

  • did that whole hugging-the-leg,

  • crying, "Mommy, don't get on the plane" thing.

  • This is hard. I feel guilty sometimes.

  • I know no women,

  • whether they're at home or whether they're in the workforce,

  • who don't feel that sometimes.

  • So I'm not saying that staying in the workforce

  • is the right thing for everyone.

  • My talk today is about what the messages are

  • if you do want to stay in the workforce,

  • and I think there are three.

  • One, sit at the table.

  • Two, make your partner a real partner.

  • And three, don't leave before you leave.

  • Number one: sit at the table.

  • Just a couple weeks ago at Facebook,

  • we hosted a very senior government official,

  • and he came in to meet with senior execs

  • from around Silicon Valley.

  • And everyone kind of sat at the table.

  • And then he had these two women who were traveling with him

  • who were pretty senior in his department,

  • and I kind of said to them, "Sit at the table. Come on, sit at the table,"

  • and they sat on the side of the room.

  • When I was in college my senior year,

  • I took a course called European Intellectual History.

  • Don't you love that kind of thing from college?

  • I wish I could do that now.

  • And I took it with my roommate, Carrie,

  • who was then a brilliant literary student --

  • and went on to be a brilliant literary scholar --

  • and my brother --

  • smart guy, but a water-polo-playing pre-med,

  • who was a sophomore.

  • The three of us take this class together.

  • And then Carrie reads all the books

  • in the original Greek and Latin,

  • goes to all the lectures.

  • I read all the books in English

  • and go to most of the lectures.

  • My brother is kind of busy.

  • He reads one book of 12

  • and goes to a couple of lectures,

  • marches himself up to our room

  • a couple days before the exam to get himself tutored.

  • The three of us go to the exam together, and we sit down.

  • And we sit there for three hours --

  • and our little blue notebooks -- yes, I'm that old.

  • And we walk out, and we look at each other, and we say, "How did you do?"

  • And Carrie says, "Boy, I feel like I didn't really draw out the main point

  • on the Hegelian dialectic."

  • And I say, "God, I really wish I had really connected

  • John Locke's theory of property with the philosophers who follow."

  • And my brother says,

  • "I got the top grade in the class."

  • "You got the top grade in the class?

  • You don't know anything."

  • The problem with these stories

  • is that they show what the data shows:

  • women systematically underestimate their own abilities.

  • If you test men and women,

  • and you ask them questions on totally objective criteria like GPAs,

  • men get it wrong slightly high,

  • and women get it wrong slightly low.

  • Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.

  • A study in the last two years

  • of people entering the workforce out of college

  • showed that 57 percent of boys entering,

  • or men, I guess,

  • are negotiating their first salary,

  • and only seven percent of women.

  • And most importantly,

  • men attribute their success to themselves,

  • and women attribute it to other external factors.

  • If you ask men why they did a good job,

  • they'll say, "I'm awesome.

  • Obviously. Why are you even asking?"

  • If you ask women why they did a good job,

  • what they'll say is someone helped them,

  • they got lucky, they worked really hard.

  • Why does this matter?

  • Boy, it matters a lot

  • because no one gets to the corner office

  • by sitting on the side, not at the table,

  • and no one gets the promotion

  • if they don't think they deserve their success,

  • or they don't even understand their own success.

  • I wish the answer were easy.

  • I wish I could just go tell all the young women I work for,

  • all these fabulous women,

  • "Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself.

  • Own your own success."

  • I wish I could tell that to my daughter.

  • But it's not that simple.

  • Because what the data shows, above all else, is one thing,

  • which is that success and likeability

  • are positively correlated for men

  • and negatively correlated for women.

  • And everyone's nodding,

  • because we all know this to be true.

  • There's a really good study that shows this really well.

  • There's a famous Harvard Business School study

  • on a woman named Heidi Roizen.

  • And she's an operator in a company

  • in Silicon Valley,

  • and she uses her contacts

  • to become a very successful venture capitalist.

  • In 2002 -- not so long ago --

  • a professor who was then at Columbia University

  • took that case and made it Howard Roizen.

  • And he gave the case out, both of them,

  • to two groups of students.

  • He changed exactly one word:

  • "Heidi" to "Howard."

  • But that one word made a really big difference.

  • He then surveyed the students,

  • and the good news was the students, both men and women,

  • thought Heidi and Howard were equally competent,

  • and that's good.

  • The bad news was that everyone liked Howard.

  • He's a great guy. You want to work for him.

  • You want to spend the day fishing with him.

  • But Heidi? Not so sure.

  • She's a little out for herself. She's a little political.

  • You're not sure you'd want to work for her.

  • This is the complication.

  • We have to tell our daughters and our colleagues,

  • we have to tell ourselves to believe we got the A,

  • to reach for the promotion,

  • to sit at the table,

  • and we have to do it in a world

  • where, for them, there are sacrifices they will make for that,

  • even though for their brothers, there are not.

  • The saddest thing about all of this is that it's really hard to remember this.

  • And I'm about to tell a story which is truly embarrassing for me,

  • but I think important.

  • I gave this talk at Facebook not so long ago

  • to about 100 employees,

  • and a couple hours later, there was a young woman who works there

  • sitting outside my little desk,

  • and she wanted to talk to me.

  • I said, okay, and she sat down, and we talked.

  • And she said, "I learned something today.

  • I learned that I need to keep my hand up."

  • I said, "What do you mean?"

  • She said, "Well, you're giving this talk,

  • and you said you were going to take two more questions.

  • And I had my hand up with lots of other people, and you took two more questions.

  • And I put my hand down, and I noticed all the women put their hand down,

  • and then you took more questions,

  • only from the men."

  • And I thought to myself,

  • wow, if it's me -- who cares about this, obviously --

  • giving this talk --

  • and during this talk, I can't even notice

  • that the men's hands are still raised,

  • and the women's hands are still raised,

  • how good are we

  • as managers of our companies and our organizations

  • at seeing that the men are reaching for opportunities

  • more than women?

  • We've got to get women to sit at the table.

  • (Applause)

  • Message number two: