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Facebook COO asks Vietnamese students to fight for greater female leadership

By Viet Anh   March 7, 2021 | 02:21 am PT
Facebook COO asks Vietnamese students to fight for greater female leadership
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer. Photo by Reuters.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, highlighted a cultural bias that exists against female leadership in a virtual chat with Vietnamese students.

Sandberg stressed that the bias was global, true in every country in the world. "It's true in Vietnam, it's true in the United States," she said, adding that the word "bossy" was four and a half times more likely to be said to a girl. Women are often told they're too aggressive, she noted.

Everyone laughs because it's funny for a little girl to have executive leadership skills, but a little boy said to have the same skills is taken seriously.

"There's a cultural stereotype against female leadership that we haven't fixed yet," she said at the conference with Fulbright University students Friday.

Sandberg noted that women are still doing the caregiving and they need much time to do it. She said female students should not do "your boyfriend's laundry" to be considered a "cute girlfriend."

"You will be doing that dude's laundry for the next three decades and you will not have the career he will."

Remarkably, the perception about women's role was getting better but painfully slowly; and then the coronavirus emerged. Sandberg called it a crisis for women in the workplace. Around 2.5 million women have left the U.S. workforce. Now women are working a double shift, at workplace and at home.

The pandemic also led many Vietnamese women to be exhausted and suffer depression with double jobs.

Vietnam's labor force shrank by 1.3 million workers to 53.4 million last year. Among the unemployed, 51.6 percent were women.

"Making things more equal is about female leadership in the work and partnership at home," Sandberg said.

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