Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says we blew it, girls

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Getty Images

(CBS) - During Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's commencement address at Barnard College on Tuesday, May 17, she ruffled some feathers -- including ours. She pointed out to 600 female graduates that women her age (in their 40's) are not dreaming big enough. Due to their insufficient dreaming, the world is suffering. (Who else is irked by this?)

"The first thing is I encourage you to think big. Studies show very clearly that in our country, in the college-educated part of the population, men are more ambitious than women. They're more ambitious the day they graduate from college; they remain more ambitious every step along their career path. We will never close the achievement gap until we close the ambition gap. But if all young women start to lean in, we can close the ambition gap right here, right now, if every single one of you leans in. Leadership belongs to those who take it."

Wait, what? Women are dreaming -- big, small, medium-sized... That's why the gender wage gap continues to narrow, according to a Women at Work report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We're not going to lie, there are roadblocks along the way. So until the rest of the world catches up with our big dreams, the only thing some of us can do is (well) keep dreaming.

Sanderg continued, "The next step is you're going to have to believe in yourself potentially more than you do today. Studies also show that compared to men, women underestimate their performance. If you ask men and women questions about completely objective criteria such as GPAs or sales goals, men get it wrong slightly high; women get it wrong slightly low. More importantly, if you ask men why they succeeded, men attribute that success to themselves; and women, they attribute it to other factors like working harder, help from others. 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.' So women need to take a page from men and own their own success."

What this tells us? Simply, our male counterparts know how to brag. So I guess that's our takeaway: brag better and give no one else credit but yourself. Got it.

Aren't commencement speeches supposed to be kind of positive, a little uplifting, a lot inspiring? We wished she had just said, "Way to go girls, but let's keep going -- there's still work to be done." More encouragement for the future power players of America is in order. Women are not that bad.

  • Ysolt Usigan

    Ysolt Usigan is the editor of lifestyle and technology for women at CBSNews.com