During a recent interview on a British radio show, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer (COO), Sheryl Sandberg, quoted Beyoncé to illustrate why she believes it is so fundamentally important to actively tell women and girls that they can become leaders.
Sandberg spoke about the inspiration with which Beyoncé provides women and girls during an interview on the BBC Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs. The radio show features interviews with guests whom are asked to choose which music they would take with them to a desert island. For her first song, Sandberg chose Beyonce's "Run the World," a song about female empowerment. In describing why she selected the song, Sanberg praised Beyonce and the inspiring message she sends to women and girls (and boys) via her music, saying,
Beyoncé’s message that women can run the world, that women should run the world, her message that she’s the boss ― I think is super important for not just women, but little girls and boys to hear.
Capitalizing on the powerful message of the song, Sandberg further explained that she believes that too few women are in leadership roles as adults because, starting at a very young age, girls are actively discouraged from seeking leadership roles ― with the opposite being true for young boys. Sandberg stated, “What I really believe is, we start telling little girls not to lead at very young ages, and we start telling little boys to lead at very young ages, and that’s a mistake."
In addition to noting that she believes that girls are not actively encouraged to become leaders, Sandberg also pointed out that workplace discrimination later in life unfortunately similarly contributes to hampering women's leadership propensities. According to Reuters, the Facebook COO noted that corporate and public policies need to be revised to guarantee workplace gender equality and equal pay. Sandberg also stated that she believes it is important for more women to run for office and to apply for jobs at the same rate as men, something which, of course, equality-oriented public and corporate policies would help encourage.
In addition to choosing Beyoncé's song to represent her views on women, girls, and leadership on the BBC this week, Sandberg has also long-admired the singer for serving as an inspiring role model. For example, in 2014, when Beyoncé landed at the top of "Time's 100 Most Influential People" list, Sandberg spoke highly of the singer's fearless leadership style, saying
“Beyonce doesn't just sit at the table. She builds a better one. Today she sits at the head of the boardroom table at Parkwood Entertainment...Beyoncé has sold out the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour while being a full-time mother...Her secret...[is] hard work, honesty and authenticity. And her answer to the question, 'What would you do if you weren’t afraid?' appears to be 'Watch me. I’m about to do it...You can, too.'"
According to Business Insider, Sandberg and Beyoncé have also previously collaborated on a campaign for women and girls' empowerment that strove to ban the word "bossy" ― a word which is sometimes used to stigmatize women and girls who seek to lead.
Overall, it is clear that ensuring that women and girls are empowered to lead is incredibly important to Sandberg. The Facebook COO very much views Beyoncé (deservedly so) as powerfully epitomizing some of the leadership qualities to which they should aspire in order to achieve success.