In The Christian Science Monitor, author Courtney Martin '02 writes about "Why smart women still don't make it up the career ladder." Read an excerpt, including a mention of the speech that Facebook Chief Opertating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave at Barnard's 2011 Commencement:
"But it’s not just work/life policies and crusty old office environments that are cramping women’s career styles. It’s unfashionable to admit this, but the truth is that women still have a confidence problem. As Mary Pipher first argued in her bestselling 1995 book, “Reviving Ophelia,” when girls turn 13, societal and familial forces compel too many of them to exchange their healthy egos for a whole world of hurt and humility.
The reasons for this shift are as layered and interrelated. In part, girls observe that women who adhere to stereotypically feminine traits – humility and self-sacrifice chief among them – seem to avoid the blinding spotlight and, thus, all the alienation that can comes from being an outspoken, self-possessed woman (see Hillary Rodham Clinton).
On the other hand, and perhaps in an effort to avoid this kind of alienation, girls and women tend to explain their own success in far less individualistic ways than do boys and men. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, giving the commencement address at Barnard College last week, touched on this: “Ask a woman why she did well on something, and she’ll say, ‘I got lucky. All of these great people helped me. I worked really hard.’ Ask a man and he’ll say or think, ‘What a dumb question. I’m awesome.’”"