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 that was run 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 than 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.
Isn't it odd that people who exhort us to increase the numbers of women in powerful, high-paying jobs on the speculative grounds that this will be good for the world, discount the roles of women as mothers, which are (usually) of undeniable benefit to their kids? Many women have figured this out. One put it this way: "The world will not be affected one way or another if it has one more accountant during the next decade. But my kids will be profoundly affected by having me raise them."
Many women also find that devoting their time to raising happy, ethical, and responsible children is more rewarding than spending 60 hours a week at the office. Why should they be made to feel that they are letting down the team?
"I hope that ... you have the ambition to run the world," Sandberg told Barnard graduates, "because this world needs you to run it." But the world can wait. Kids can't.