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Why Sheryl Sandberg wants more women to plan their own proposals

The recently-engaged Facebook executive took to social media to share an inspiring message on Valentine’s Day.
Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg Interview
Just a week after announcing her engagement to Tom Bernthal, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg took to Instagram to share some empowering thoughts on relationships. Bloomberg / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is celebrating Valentine's Day with an empowering message for both women and men.

"There's a conversation I keep having," she wrote on Instagram. "I meet an amazing young woman. We talk about her career and goals. She’s full of plans and energy.

"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 noted in her post that many women who "want to marry their boyfriends" are "nervous to say so," despite living independently in all other areas of their lives.

"They 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," Sandberg 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 ... But Prince Charming has no horse. We need to walk into our futures on our own two feet."

Sandberg went on to say that she was thinking about the topic due to her recent engagement to Tom Bernthal.

"Part of me wanted the fairy tale. But I think you can have it without taking yourself out of the decision," she wrote.

Sandberg explained that she and Bernthal had "talked it out" before officially getting engaged, and revealed sweet details about what led up to the proposal itself. According to her post, the couple worked together in "romantic" talks to select a weekend for their proposal. Bernthal then planned the "trip, hike, and picnic" that led up to the romantic moment.

"Yes, he got down on one knee," she wrote. "And when he proposed, he had a letter for me – and I had a letter for him, because we took this step together."

Sandberg has made a name for herself as a feminist champion in various fields. In 2013, she published a book called "Lean In," that was designed to help empower women to make decisions about their careers. In 2014, she published a sequel called "Lean In: For Graduates," aimed at women just entering the job market. In her post, Sandberg connected women's career advancement with "equality at home."

"I wrote in @leaninorg that in an equal world, women would run half our countries and companies and men would run half our homes," she wrote. "Equality at work depends on equality at home, and that starts with equality in dating. Equality is romantic. This Valentine’s Day, my wish is that half of candlelit dinners are prepared by men and half of proposals are made by women. And that Prince Charmings send their horses back to the barn."

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