Since 2013, when she came out with her mega-hit book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg has been something of a “feminist” icon. Though many took issue with the degree to which she put the onus on women to be more assertive, especially though not exclusively in the workplace, for five years she has been the most prominent among women leaders nudging others to become prominent women leaders.
At the same time, she has been, of course, chief operating officer of Facebook. It’s a position she has held since 2008. Moreover, since 2012 she has been a member of Facebook’s Board of Directors. Therefore, she, as much as anyone else at Facebook, save its founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, can take credit for the company’s stunning, singular success, and must now take blame for the company’s stunning, singular stumbling. Let’s face it – Facebook’s facing a scandal that could turn out similarly. As stunning as singular.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, it’s time for Sandberg to step out and step up. Zuckerberg is obviously her superior. But given her strong advocacy, her relentless urging of women to lean in, Sandberg must not stand silently by, remaining publicly mute while her man takes the flack. No way she can continue to present pure as the driven snow while he is tarred and feathered. In short Sheryl, speak your piece or hold your peace.