Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently took to Facebook to let followers know that she and others like her "will not rest" until women run half of the world's countries and corporations — which is a goal that she said is still far off. She shared the post just before the fifth anniversary of the launch of her book, Lean In, which was published in March 11, 2013.
"Last week, I read a few pages of Lean In to my daughter for the first time," she wrote. "She’s 10 years old. She asked me why I didn’t read it to her when it first came out. I said that since this week is the fifth anniversary of Lean In, she was just five then — and preferred books with more pictures."
Sandberg said that so much has happened since her book was published, which she said has spawned 35,000 support groups for women in 162 countries — the #MeToo movement, the wave of women running for office, improvements to girls' health worldwide, raises to the minimum wage and introduced paid leave at the state and local levels.
"But we have also seen that change is never easy or linear," she wrote. "Women were nowhere near equality in 2013 and we are nowhere near equality now — and that’s especially true for women of color. On many measures — the pay gap, the number of women in Congress or running companies or countries — progress has been incremental at best."
So she's still calling for change to the balance of power.
"Victory in the battle for gender equality requires all of us to be both outraged and optimistic, both impatient and in this fight for the long run," she wrote. "Now more than ever, we need to change the balance of power. An equal world will be one where women run half our countries and companies and men run half our homes. We will not rest until we reach that goal."
In her post, Sandberg added that there are nonetheless reasons to be hopeful, and that the facts are on our side.
"We know that diverse teams are more productive," she explained. "We know that when organizations have more women, especially in leadership, employee benefits are more generous and sexual harassment is less prevalent. We know that the economy would gain tremendously from women entering the workforce at the same rate as men. We know that when fathers invest more in their families, their children are happier, healthier, and do better in school and professionally. And momentum is on our side. Every day, more women are standing up, speaking out, and pushing for change. Just last week, I met Tarana Burke, who started #MeToo more than a decade ago. She and the women around the world fighting for justice fill me with hope."
She told her kids the morning she shared that Facebook post that Lean In is only now entering kindergarten, and the Lean In community still has a lot of learning and growing to do.
The march toward true equality continues down the halls of governments, corporations, academia, hospitals, law firms, nonprofits, research labs, and every organization, large and small — "because a more equal world will be a better world." And we will get there together, she insisted.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.