Sheryl Sandberg: Women Must Learn to 'Lean In'

Why Facebook's COO says modern women need a wake-up call in their careers.
8:47 | 03/12/13

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Transcript for Sheryl Sandberg: Women Must Learn to 'Lean In'
Well they say you can't have at all but Sheryl Sandberg comes awfully close and 43 Samberg news a director at Disney ABC's parent company. Is the highly respected chief operating officer of FaceBook. Putting her net worth in the millions she is also happily married with two young children. And yet she wants even more specifically women to join her in the professional stratosphere. She called it leaning in gunning for the corner office not the cubicle here is 22 -- -- anchor. -- -- -- Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most powerful women in the world at 43 she's the chief operating officer of FaceBook and the billionaire. And you could say she's lonely at the time women have been 14%. At the top jobs in corporate America for ten years. Ten years if no progress her new book -- -- has ignited a firestorm. As a sort of feminist manifesto for the sex in the city generation do you want to leave taking a hard look at the uncomfortable questions. Clear there's still so few women at the top we're still nowhere close to having our -- the leadership roles. In any industry in any government anywhere in the lower -- here's a national retailer they printed at Wendy's and the boys Smart like daddy. The -- else. Pretty like mommy really -- was not in the 1950s that was two years ago lenient as controversial message. That when it comes to getting ahead women can be their own worst enemies. You also talk about an ambition gap -- -- saying that we're not ambitious as well there are many women out -- hers just as ambitious as any man but if you ask. Boys and girls starting in junior high. Do you want to lead. More males than females at every level saying yes -- -- don't you think that. Ambitious. When it when assigned to a man is an attractive I think he's in vicious that's great. The board and -- for a woman is negative Sandberg says all this self sabotage can be traced to what you could call this Sally Field syndrome. That women need to be liked the fact is in the office we see that all the time manner Dresden. Aggressive. Decisive. And women are difficult. And it she as a man gets more successful she is better light and men and women. And as a woman gets more successful she is less flights you also said -- Mark Zuckerberg actually told you gotta stop worrying about people liking decent Charron. You're number one problem is you care too much about being -- and that always pleasing everyone. You're never can always -- every one. If you see anything that matters you're certainly not -- -- everyone. You wrote in the book I was constantly afraid so what's gonna find out that I really wasn't Smart enough for good enough to -- he's right and it so happens to me today. We know that relative to the same level of performance. Many feel more confident can women and what are we doing to our girls that they're not getting the self confidence as young women the stereotypes that -- in -- -- are enormously self fulfilling to make that point she often tells a story from her own childhood. At my wedding my brother and sister got on stage and to give a test and they said hi where -- younger brother and sister David and shall. But not really her younger brother and sister we're actually her first employees. Employee number one and employee -- -- Because she really -- as a child. She more organized. Other children's -- After the word bossy. Almost never used for and why it's used for -- and it's someone -- called bossy from much my childhood. -- me it's not a compliment at first blush Sandberg seems like an unlikely poster child for struggle. The eldest of three children raised by a doctor and a stay at home mom in Miami she went to Harvard under -- in business school. When she was in the sixth grade she entered a an oratory contest. And she was so. Small -- she was young that. They had to put a box for her to stand on so they could see her over the podium and she -- on two to win second place. The person who won was in high school. After Harvard -- became an early protege of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Eventually becoming his chief of staff at the age of 27. But instead is staying in Washington she took a risk on what was then a small search engine a little thing called Google. You're gonna find something you love doing and you need to -- -- cost him. Perhaps ironically it's the web that made her an accidental icon when a -- of speeches starting in 2010. Wins by several. Because no one gets to the corner -- press. Ice skating on the side on the table your speech at the Ted conference has had two million YouTube views until three years ago I'd never talk expecting a woman -- I think everyone did you never talk about being a -- -- people -- -- here alone and if the image of a female bosses that coldly dismissive Miranda Priestly in the devil wears -- -- as the personification -- Sandberg goes out of her way to be the opposite. Of a bundle of energy who never stops moving enjoy yeah. And greets people with hugs not handshakes. You -- in addition to the book she's launching what she calls lenient circles groups of women who meet regularly to talk about challenges. Negotiating their own salaries you didn't do such a great job initially when it came to negotiating for yourself with Mark Zuckerberg absolutely I was dying to get the strap when he -- the first offer. I thought it was and I was about to take it gratefully. And then it was my brother -- said to me. What are you can you know takes the first offer gonna -- -- nice while I negotiate -- like meaning they'll look at John it won't work out. And he said to me why are you gonna take this job and make less than any man would take. And that was motivating. Perhaps not surprisingly the book has planted Sandberg firmly in the white hot center of the never ending debate over women in the workforce and mommy wars. With much of the criticism coming from other women. I want to read you some of the criticisms. Everyone agrees Sheryl Sandberg is wickedly Smart but she's also been lucky and has had powerful mentors along the way. Fair enough I've been really lucky and I think with that comes not just the opportunity but the responsibility to help other women I hang your book you say. It's funny you don't hear a lot of -- a man is lucky. So when a man is successful at something and asked why -- -- -- be that success to his own skills. When a woman is successful she will attribute that success to -- help for mother's house that you're telling women act like a man -- -- not telling women to act more like -- man I am telling women that we need to believe in ourselves. Others say Sandberg is simply too privileged to preach your amazingly rich. You can afford health and most people the vast majority people can't afford. It's one thing to say Lee -- and work harder when you're sitting in your seat and then a lot of other people seats I have resources other people -- have. And I think that gives me the responsibility to speak out for women. This is about the fact that women make 77 cents to the dollar for -- Yeah. But -- -- we also have to ask men to do more at home and perhaps easier said than done. I'd love my husband a pony up 50% of the housework and child -- that just doesn't work out that way. It's hard getting to balance -- hard to feel guilty all the time I beat myself up for all the things I don't do. My husband he -- -- amount of time with -- -- and it speaks for humans. Just here as we get home and dinner most nights for our kids we drive them to school. So -- experience things. Totally differently so -- Sandberg plan to lean and even further there is much speculation that she could soon run for office. And though she denies that there is another woman she'd like to see her hat in the ring. So do you hope Hillary Clinton runs for president. Yes I do I hope Hillary Clinton runs for president and wins and wins you know one of the reasons I wrote -- -- -- my daughter for years olds. We -- we have tape of all the president's she said mommy. Wire -- all points. If Hillary Clinton becomes president. My daughter will not ask me that question anymore and that is so important. A future generation where no one may notice the president is wearing a skirt. I'm Elizabeth Vargas for Nightline in New York indeed Lehman is in bookstores now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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