Sheryl Sandberg reveals she helped plan her engagement and wants other women to 'take charge' too

The Facebook COO shared a message for other women on Valentine's Day.

ByABC News via logo
February 14, 2020, 3:51 PM

Sheryl Sandberg announced her own engagement earlier this month and now the Facebook COO is encouraging women to think twice about the traditional "Prince Charming" -- where the man in the relationship typically plans the marriage proposal.

Sandberg, whose first husband Dave Goldberg died suddenly in 2015, described in an Instagram post the role she played in planning out her own proposal to Tom Bernthal, the CEO of a consulting firm.

"[Tom] and I talked it out (and those talks were quite romantic). We chose the weekend together. Then he planned the trip, hike, and picnic," she wrote. "Yes, he got down on one knee. And when he proposed, he had a letter for me -- and I had a letter for him, because we took this step together."

Sandberg, the "Lean In" author who encouraged women to take charge of their careers, reflected on a conversation she said she keeps having with women.

"I meet an amazing young woman. We talk about her career and goals. She’s full of plans and energy," the mother of two wrote. "Then we talk about her relationship -- and the vibe changes. 'I’m waiting for him to propose.' 'I don’t want to pressure him.' 'I hope I’ll be engaged soon.'"

"It seems to me that many women take charge of their lives in every way except dating and marriage," Sandberg wrote, clarifying that she is only talking about dating between men and women because same-sex couples aren't "bound by the idea that one gender should propose."

Sandberg said women are waiting for the fairy tale character Prince Charming when they need to move ahead on their "own two feet."

"[Women] don’t hand the reins of their educations or careers to someone else -- but they wait for their boyfriends to make this huge decision for them," she wrote. "It’s like we want Prince Charming on a white horse. We’re taught gender stereotypes: men are supposed to sweep us off our feet."

"Women learn that when we speak up for ourselves, we’re less likeable. But Prince Charming has no horse. We need to walk into our futures on our own two feet," Sandberg continued.

A 2019 report by The Knot, a wedding-planning brand, found that 84% of proposers follow tradition and get down on one knee while proposing, but only 33% of proposees say their marriage proposal was a complete surprise.

Sandberg noted that women who want a surprise proposal should absolutely get one but explained, "But if you can’t talk to your boyfriend about marriage, you’re either dating the wrong person or you’re not giving him credit for being the right person."

"Equality at work depends on equality at home, and that starts with equality in dating," she wrote. "Equality is romantic."

Sandberg ended her Instagram post with her take on what a fairy tale should look like today.

"This Valentine’s Day, my wish is that half of candlelit dinners are prepared by men and half of proposals are made by women," she wrote. "And that Prince Charmings send their horses back to the barn."

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