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Modern Women Vol. 1 Issue. 3

FROM THE EDITOR

Features 04 The New Face of Feminism? Sherryl Sandberg speaks out. 08 Warren buffet’s Office Hours Ask a question. 10

Go for the crazy idea

Quit your job.

BUSINESS

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Editor: Qian Chen

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Modern Women Vol. 1 Issue. 3

The new face of

feminism?

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg speaks out.

E

ven Sheryl Sandberg seems slightly

What it represents is Sandberg’s explo-

Covent Garden hotel suite where she is

– “I’m not sure Baroness Thatcher could

quite comfortable,” says Sandberg. “I

surprised by the furore she has

sive call to action, for women to stop

on a one-woman publicity blitz, glamor-

have done that.”

don’t know any women that are totally

caused. “You know, this is a hard-

holding themselves back and to “lean in”

ous in a boardroom-acceptable way.

Ah, that crying. On Mark Zuckerberg,

comfortable with their choices, myself

cover book of feminism,” she laughs.

to their careers, warning that “we lower

Hours after Baroness Thatcher’s funer-

the wunderkind founder of Facebook, no

included, and I try to be super honest

“So I think what the natural thing

our own expectations of what we can

al, she bats back the perennial question

less, over a “not just false, but cruel” story

about that in the book. I feel guilty and I

for people to have done … is to com-

achieve” and so hobble our own progress.

of whether Britain’s first women prime

circling about her. That, along with vari-

worry, I worry about work, I worry about”-

minister was friend or foe to women.

pletely ignore it.”

ous other revelations – how she noticed

a quick change of direction - “I know very

But the reaction has been quite the

she has also faced harsh criticism, from

“I think we have to be grateful for the

her daughter had nits while on the eBay

few men who don’t feel comfortable with

opposite - and not just because Sandberg,

those complaining she lets companies

women that came before us - and then

corporate jet, breast-pumping while on

their choices.”

as Facebook’s number two, is one of the

and governments off the hook over rigid

we have to build on their legacy to do

conference calls in her Google office –

most powerful women in business.

Met with loud praise in some quarters,

To her critics, she has a pithy response:

work schedules and expensive childcare,

even more,” she says promptly. “So take

have certainly helped to create a buzz

Already published in 24 languages and

to others who say she ignores the sheer

my own example, I say I leave [work] at

around the book. But if her personal tales

“It’s incredibly clear that I’m not put-

counting, her book Lean In has shot – and

gruelling toll of trying to combine a full-

five thirty. I’m not sure the women that

have drawn people in, it is her argument

ting all the onus on women, that I have a

has stuck - to the top of the US bestseller

throttle career and a family.

came before me in Silicon Valley could

that is causing debate.

lot in there on how men need to be bet-

lists, and has been climbing here since its release last month.

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read the book.

Sandberg, however, seems entirely at

have done that. I don’t know if they could

“I think the clashes are coming from

ter managers of women, how men need

ease as she comes smiling into the

have survived. I say I cry at work” – wryly

the fact that as women we are never

to acknowledge bias - how all of us need

I think we have to be grateful for the women that came before us and then we have to build their legacy to do even more.

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Modern Women Vol. 1 Issue. 3

to stop telling little girls they’re bossy,”

which turned out to be a “rocket ship” -

has a tight group of girlfriends, who stay

she says, firing back answers from an

she agreed to become Zuckerberg’s chief

in touch through social networking.

armchair. “I try to be really honest about

operating officer at Facebook in 2008,

Life, she says, is “mostly family and

my own struggles, my own” – a pause

last year shepherding the company’s

work but I try to go away with my girl-

– “heated discussions with my husband

$100 billion-plus float on Wall Street.

friends once a year. We have a Facebook

that got us to equality.”

Along the way, she was navigating

group so we can daily post [messages] to

That said, you cannot just wait for the

married life and the births of her son

each other and that’s been great.”

institutional barriers to disappear, is the

and daughter, now eight and five. The

Meanwhile, she’s thinking big. The book

reasoning from Sandberg, who describes

book grew out of talks she had in recent

is just the start of a movement – a “com-

herself as a pragmatist as well as a

years started giving to students and then

munity”, she corrects – of Lean In circles,

feminist. And so she is full of possible

online, drawing on her experiences, but it

backed by her new non-profit foundation

solutions, open about hiring a nanny and

was a work contact who cornered her in

of the same name. Think book clubs with

how she and her husband will sit down at

a bathroom and told her, “You are waiting

career development on the agenda.

the start of every week to divide school

for someone else to do this.” That was the

run duties.

impetus to write.

No wonder, then, that some are already wondering if politics will be next.

Women, she also advises in the book,

Yes, Zuckerberg has read the book,

“No. Full stop, no,” says Sandberg, who

should “combine niceness with insis-

Sandberg says, and has been “incredibly

cannot really say anything else, given the

tence” as they negotiate for pay rises and

supportive”, even if, after five years sitting

repercussions on her current role. But I’m

promotions – a tactic I wonder if I am

next to her, he said he had already heard

not so sure, remembering how, seated on

seeing made flesh.

her tell every story.

a panel of luminaries at the last Davos

“I wasn’t anticipating this level of

Still, in public she seems more at ease

gathering, it was Sandberg, not Christine

dialogue - but I’m so grateful for it?” -

with sticking to the general. Her first

Lagarde, the feted IMF chief, nor any of

with an upwards inflexion, getting me to

opening chapter, she admits, boasted four

the other heavyweights onstage, who

agree - “because I think it’s going to take

pages on the Masai tribe and another five

made the crowd sit up and listen.

heated debate to get away from what

on matrilineal societies.

I was most worried about writing the book: stagnation.”

“I thought it was fabulous,” she laughs.

Not a word you’d ever associate with

at all! My husband called it eating your Wheaties. I don’t know if that translates

with an arsenal of statistics – “women

here, but it was a cereal people were

get paid 15pc less than men in this coun-

supposed to eat because it was good for

try, women get paid 23pc less than men

them that people didn’t like.” Sandberg,

in my country” – at her disposal.

it is clear, knows the value of a spoonful of sugar.

been heading for big things, with her sib-

If there is one charge she may struggle

lings joking in their speeches at her wed-

to refute, it is that she is far from an

ding to David Goldberg, a tech entrepre-

everywoman, with her book laying bare

neur, that they were her “first employees”.

the drive and discipline behind her stel-

Growing up in Miami with parents

lar career.

committed to public service – her father

Yes, she may, famously, leave the office

a doctor, her mother a tireless volunteer

at five thirty for family time, but that was

– working towards social change was

after years of 12-hour days as a minimum

perhaps in her DNA. But after Harvard

– and she will start work again at home

and business school propelled her to the

later that evening.

US Treasury, she jumped into the technology boom. After joining a then tiny Google –

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wouldn’t bet against it.

“No one else thought it was any good

Sandberg, who talks at a breakneck pace

Now 43, she seems always to have

Sandberg on the campaign trail? I

Downtime, unsurprisingly, sounds in

No one else thought it was any good at all! My husband called it eating your Wheaties. I don’t know if that translates here, but it was a cereal people were supposed to eat because it was good for them.

short supply. She’s started watching Downton Abbey (still on series one) and

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