For her new book, “What Will It Take to Make a Woman President?,” veteran journalist Marianne Schnall interviewed high-achieving women about why the highest glass ceiling in the land is still in place. The following is taken from her talk with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer.
Marianne Schnall: Why do you think it is that we’ve not had a woman president so far?
Sheryl Sandberg: I have a great story for you. There’s a song that has all the names of the presidents, and so my kids were learning the names of all the presidents and my daughter, at four, looked at me, and her first question was, “Mommy, why are they all boys?”
I think women in leadership suffer from stereotyping, and when people expect a stereotype and are reminded of a stereotype, that actually makes the stereotype stronger. It’s called stereotype threat, and it’s why when women check off “Miss” or girls check off “Female” before taking a math test, the research shows they actually do worse. What has happened is that there aren’t women in leadership roles, therefore people don’t expect there to be women in leadership roles, therefore, there aren’t women in leadership roles.