Though she denies that she is judging any woman's decisions, and acknowledges that she struggles with the work/family balance every day, there is a planted assumption in her advice to women that work should prevail over family. Noting the small numbers of women in top executive positions at Fortune 500 firms, Sandberg says, "The problem, I am convinced, is that women are dropping out."Bravo to Ms. Charen for calling out the Sisterhood's--stereotypically UMC and white, as is the case here--vanity and chauvinism. As for a better world being one where half of countries and companies are run by women, well, we already have a preview of what such a world would look like in the materiel and moral poverty of female-headed families in America. One out of four families in the United States was headed by a single woman in 2009...and our society is collectively reaping the consequences of this rash and foolish societal choice, in the form of a humongous burden on taxpayers, higher crime rates, lower academic achievement, and unwed childbearing, to name a few.
Many more women than men prefer part-time work or no work when their children are young. There is doubt as to whether this constitutes a problem. Women students at Yale Law School, for example, have published a guide to top law firms that rates them on family-friendliness. As students, these women, who can certainly command some of the highest salaries in the American economy, are thinking ahead about finding workplaces that permit flexibility. Sandberg sees this phenomenon, and appears to condemn it. "Don't leave before you leave," she advises, warning that women forego promotions and more challenging assignments because they're thinking about having kids. This, she argues, makes it less likely that the woman will have a fulfilling job to return to. "I'm here to tell you that once you have a child at home, your job better be really good to go back, because it's hard to leave that kid at home."
Leaving the kid appears to be the goal. But why? "I think a world...where half our countries and half our companies were run by women, would be a better world."
Maybe. But I haven't noticed that women heads of government or women heads of companies behave differently from men. She's treating her preference as an assumed good. This is one of those little vanities that is permitted to women but would be unacceptable coming from the mouth of a man. No man would dare to suggest, for example, that the field of nursing or teaching would be improved if men were more equally represented.
If past performance helps predict future outcomes, given the steeply negative impacts of female-headed households, why would anyone take seriously the claim that more countries and more companies run by women would yield a better world, when the present level of female-run, father-absent families is nothing less than an unmitigated disaster? That is, anyone for whom the criteria for "better" includes anything other than personal autonomy or self-fulfillment?