TODAY   |  April 09, 2014

‘Lean In’ author on equal pay: Women ‘deserve it’

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, visits TODAY to talk about her new book, “Lean In: For Graduates,” focusing on goals for the next generation, and discusses how women can negotiate the pay they deserve.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> fire storm with her book "lean in." she delivered a blunt message. men still run the world and women need to take control of their careers. this has gone on to sell nearly two million copies. started a movement. women from ceos to stay-at-home moms have formed more than 16,000 lean in circles around the world. but of course, sandberg also faced some criticism from some who said she didn't fully understand the struggle to balance work and family. now sheryl sandberg , the mother of two, has set her sights on the next generation with her new book cle"lean in for graduates." so good to see you.

>> thank you for having me.

>> what does lean in for graduates mean? i remember graduating from college and i would be happy to have any job.

>> since the book has been published last year, so many women want to lean in. but especially if they're young and the tough economy, ask how. how do i find a job? how do i figure out what i want to do in the first place? how do i negotiate for myself if i'm a woman?

>> how can you negotiate if it's a first job and you have no leverage and there's ten people who would do it for less.

>> you can negotiate, but if you're a woman you have to do it the right way. one of the chapters in the new book is by kim keating, and she tells women how to negotiate without facing that penalty women face because we don't expect them to advocate. things like use we, not i. explain why the compensation is not just important to you, but will help you do a better job.

>> we have some pictures of you from your high school and college graduation. roll them.

>> that should be scary.

>> you write a letter to the graduates, a personal letter . you say in the book, you know, when i graduate young. a marriage that didn't work out. something that was a painful experience for me. but one i grew from. i think what matters is as we come into the work force , we know that this can be the generation that can get us to equality. and that means we have to give women and men the tools, but especially women , to get paid the same as men, they deserve it. to get the same opportunities as men to, get into jobs like yours and mine.

>> you tell the graduates, "this is your time, generations of women are rooting for you, i'm rooting for you, embrace leadership, lean in." i know you've heard this criticism before, but in a way the subtext is you need to lean in, you need to do something. if you don't get ahead, it's your fault. as opposed to, frankly, institutional barriers that exist.

>> i think these are false tradeoffs. we need all kinds of change. we need public policy reform and institutional change. but a lot of those changes can come about if there were more women in leadership roles. we know that when companies have more women , and even middle management , those companies have better work life policies for women . so i believe we need reform and i believe women can help us get there.

>> you know, when "lean in" went out, not only did you sell books, you added a phrase to our lexicon, and something in our culture now. but you were really criticized in a lot of corridors. did all of that sting?

>> i think the real risk here is not too much controversy but too little. i knew when i put out this book that i was hitting on really personal issues. this is about who we are as individuals, as parents, as colleagues. this is about the expectations we have for our children. and i think the fact that there's been such active debate is great. and the fact that so many women are taking action. 16,000 circles in 72 countries, they're in kosovo and saudi arabia and michigan state university . these are individuals who are taking action every single day to lean in and make their lives better.

>> well, for better or worse, everyone's very interested in what you're doing in particular. the business press is all abuzz because you have, i guess, unloaded about half of your facebook stock and some people read the tea leaves and say is she planning to leave facebook soon?

>> i'm glad you raised this, because there's been some confusion. a good chunk of what was sold was all for taxes. so there's just confusion on that. and i have really plans to stay at facebook . i love my job. i love what we do every day to connect the world. and i love being able to work on lean in in my personal time .

>> the other big rumor is that you might be running for political office . would you rule it out?

>> i'm not running for office. again, i really love my job and i have no plans to make any changes.

>> would you rule it out?

>> i have ruled it out. i don't think that's for me, but i do really believe in what i'm doing.

>> sheryl sandberg , always a good conversation starter, and now this is addressed to the next generation. "lean in for graduates." thank you so much.

>> thank you so much.

>> and we should mention that sheryl and some of the women who contributed to the book are actually going to help us with the summer series called "finding your first job today." if you are a soon-to-be grad or recently received a diploma, go to for more details to get some great advice. thank you so much.

>> thank you for having me.