Women and ambition – do you ‘shrink to fit’

Great article by Justine Musk on her blog.

My favourite passages from “The Art of Being an Ambitious Female”

[Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO] is challenging women to assume full responsibility for their own success – not because she’s “out of touch” but because, as any Brian Tracy self-help book will tell you, that is what successful people do. They assume an internal locus of control – that their own actions determine their fate (whether or not this is always true, it is empowering). Men don’t have much of a problem with this (“we are awesome!”). Women, Sandberg points out, tend toward an external locus of control. They attribute their success to external factors: to luck, or help from someone else. They defer and self-deprecate and apologize and “shrink to fit”. In an environment that judges you on the sense of personal power you project – or don’t — this hurts us, and undercuts our chances for advancement.


When a man is ambitious – and successful and powerful – he is leaning that much more into what it means to be a man.

But when a woman is ambitious, she cuts against the grain of her gender. You can’t be ambitious and feminine, so you have to give up one or the other — or redefine them both, and invent yourself in the process.

Go and read the whole article!


One thought on “Women and ambition – do you ‘shrink to fit’

  1. Rowan

    This is so apposite to everything I’ve been thinking this week. I want every woman I know to read this!

    Remind me to talk to you about a recent conversation with Kat re women on comedy panel shows and Germain Greer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s