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Facebook女高管:妇女能顶半边天

Patricia Sellers 2011年12月30日

女性在企业高层职位中所占比例何时将达到50%?

    圣诞节的周末,谢莉尔•桑德伯格给我发了封邮件,听起来有点不太顺心。

    桑德伯格是Facebook的首席运营官(COO)。她在邮件中提到,周日的《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)刊登了一篇关于《财富》(Fortune)“最具影响力商界女性”榜单的大幅报道。报道中引用了我的一句话——女性在美国企业的高层职位中所占比例永远达不到50%。桑德伯格问我这句话是否是媒体搞错了。“你可不能打击我!”她写道。

    抱歉了,谢莉尔,《华盛顿邮报》的引述没错。

    事实上,我确实认为,在企业高层,女性不会——永远不会——和男性平分秋色。“这并非因为所谓的“玻璃天花板”,也不是什么歧视,而是因为女性会做出各种不同的选择。而且,女性也的确拥有更多的选择。”正如我在电邮回复中对她说的那样:“这没什么不好。它表明女性将更多的精力投向了商业之外的领域。关键在于,我们必须推动优秀的女性在商业之外的领域同样能够攀上顶峰。”

    桑德伯格是怎么回复的呢?她觉得我所说的可能是正确的,但她补充说:“我真心认为,女性完全可以在各个层面中担任50%的职位,而男性也完全可以分担一半的家庭责任。在实现这一点之前,我们都必须继续努力。”

    对极了。这是2012年到来之际的明智建议。如今,许多女性都拥有非凡的动力和潜力,但却安于扮演辅助性的角色。正如桑德伯格在一篇关于女性和职业的约稿中精辟地写道,她们在职业生涯中主动“退缩”,她们“在放下工作之前心就不在工作上了”。

    确实,就连《财富》杂志选出的“最具影响力商界女性”——那些登上“财富500强企业”首席执行官职位的女性,包括即将于下周出任IBM公司首席执行官的吉尼•罗曼提在内,有时都必须说服自己,才能接受自身所拥有的权力。

    《华盛顿邮报》的报道不禁让我开始思考,权力以及我本人是否能够欣然接受权力。这篇报道从内部视角出发审视了《财富》杂志编制“最具影响力商界女性”年度榜单的工作,回顾了这份年度榜单发展成业界盛事、不断吸引更多精英在世界各地投身于社会福祉的历程。这篇报道本来应该关注“最具影响力的商界女性”(以下简称MPW)榜单本身,但却花了很多笔墨在我身上;因为1998年,该榜单首创之时,我就有幸参与其中,而我恰好也是至今仍然在职的领头人。

    事实上,MPW榜单的蓬勃发展归功于时代公司(Time Inc.)高层坚定不移的支持,其中包括《财富》杂志总编赛安迪,以及时代公司前任首席执行官安•摩尔。MPW榜单的成功还应归功于业内最顶级的会议团队【感谢尼达姆合伙公司(Needham Partners)】,以及“最具影响力女性峰会”的联席主席、《财富》杂志执行主编斯蒂芬妮•梅塔,和《财富》杂志华盛顿办事处主编妮娜•伊斯顿。如果没有他们以及许多其他充满激情的合作伙伴,MPW项目就只是一个梦。

    昨晚,我仍然在为《华盛顿邮报》那篇报道把焦点放在我身上而耿耿于怀,这时候我突然收到了一封邮件。发件人是希拉里•罗森,她是华盛顿SKDKnickerbocker公关公司一位杰出的公关专业人士,参加过多届MPW峰会。她说:“人物才是讲故事的最好载体。还有谁比你更清楚这一点呢? ”

    好吧,我懂了。我会遵循自己给别人的建议:接受荣誉,欣然拥抱自己的力量。

    Over Christmas weekend, Sheryl Sandberg emailed me, sounding a bit distressed.

    Referring to a big story about Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Sunday's Washington Post (WPO), the Facebook COO asked if I'd been misquoted in saying that I believe women will never have 50% of the top jobs in corporate America. "Don't depress me!" Sandberg wrote.

    Sorry, Sheryl, the Post quoted me correctly.

    I do, in fact, believe that women won't ever—ever!--reach parity at the top "not because of glass ceilings, not because of any kind of discrimination, but because women make different choices. And have more choices." As I told Sandberg in my reply to her email: "That's OK. It implies more female power distributed to other spheres beyond business. The trick is, we have to urge great women to rise to the top in the right places beyond business."

    Sandberg's response? She worries that I'm right but added: "I really believe that there is no reason women can't have 50% of the jobs at every level and men can't run 50% of the homes. We all have to keep trying until we get there."

    Right on. This is wise advice for starting 2012. At the moment, there are too many women of extraordinary drive and potential who feel too comfortable in support roles, who "lean back" in their careers, who "leave before they leave," as Sandberg put it perfectly in her classic Guest Post about women and careers.

    It's true, even Fortune Most Powerful Women rising to Fortune 500 CEO posts—including Ginni Rometty, who takes the top job at IBM (IBM) next week—sometimes have to convince themselves to embrace the power that lies within them.

    The Post story got me thinking about power and my own comfort with it. The piece is a terrific inside look at how we at Fortune developed the annual Most Powerful Women rankings and expanded the annual list into hot-ticket events and a growing community that does socially good work around the world. But what was supposed to be a MPW story focuses way too much on me--who was present at the creation in 1998 and happens to be the lead survivor.

    The truth is, MPW thrives because of unwavering support at the top of Time Inc.—including Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer and former Time Inc. (TWX) CEO Ann Moore--plus the best conference team in the business (credit to Needham Partners) and my Most Powerful Women Summit co-chairs, Fortune Executive Editor Stephanie Mehta and Washington Editor Nina Easton. Without these and many other passionate partners, MPW is just a dream.

    Last night, as my stomach still churned over my center-stage role in the Post story, an email popped into my mailbox from Hilary Rosen, who is a prominent PR pro at SKDKnickerbocker in Washington and has been to many MPW Summits: "Who knows better than you that people are the best vehicles to tell a story? "

    Alright, I got the message. I will do what I advise others to do: accept the credit and own my power.

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