From research, it is noted that in New Zealand, women now make up less than a quarter of party leaders in parliament, less than 15% of major newspaper editors, less than 10% of Royal Society fellows and less than 10% of CEOs in the top 100 publicly listed companies (Zhou, 2012). These statistics obviously show that women are not making it to the top of any professions in taking on leadership roles.
As Sandberg mentioned in her Ted talk, there are many causes to the results of the statistics provided above. The most important one of which I can personally relate to, is that women tend to underestimate themselves, they don’t strive for higher positions as they don’t believe they are good enough, and thus do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce (Sandberg, 2010).
The first issue to be pointed out is that women must at times in their life, choose between the professional life and personal fulfillment, this could be a reason as to why most put their careers on pause of stop completely. It is in a women’s nature to desire a satisfactory family life, to become a mother, to which hinders her opportunities in the workforce. Not only as a result of employers, but also to themselves, when they ‘drop out’ too early. Thinking that they shouldn’t strive to higher positions because they have to go on parental leave. Sandberg’s advice to this is to encourage those women in the workforce that also wishes to start a family to not think about leaving until they have to leave (Sandberg, 2010). She mentioned that some women start thinking about this issue even early in the 20s, not even married. I believe that we must have confidence in ourselves to be able to achieve to the highest of our abilities, to not view this situation as an either/or, be understand that we are good enough to manage both a personal and professional life. Even the New Zealand government have noted that promoting the full potential of women in society will lead to stronger and fuller economic development as we will be getting the most out of our population (NCWNZ, 2010).
Another major problem leading to the lack of women in leadership roles of the New Zealand society is of course their lack of confidence in themselves. As Sandberg said, “women systematically underestimate their own abilities, they attribute their success to other external factors.” (Sandberg, 2010). I can definitely relate to this, especially comparing between my female flat mates and male classmate. Whenever my flat mate receives a good result back from a test, she makes remarks such as ‘I was just lucky”