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Facebook's No. 2 exec pays tribute to single mothers

Facebook's No. 2 exec pays tribute to single mothers

A year after her husband's death, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is opening up about her new reality as a single parent.

In her lengthy post, Sheryl Sandberg also acknowledged how fortunate she is for not facing the financial encumbrances of many single parents and widows. And in a Facebook post Friday, Sandberg opened up about what it's meant to take on the role of both mother and father to her two children, and the perspective she's gained on single moms around the world. She marshaled statistics to illustrate the tough odds single mothers labor against, including the fact that 35% of them experience food insecurity and 46% of families headed by black and Hispanic single mothers live in poverty. She wrote,"I did not really get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home".

We need to rethink our public and corporate workforce policies and broaden our understanding of what a family is and looks like.

In her 2013 book Lean In, Sandberg discussed how crucial a supportive partner is to a woman's career-a piece of advice that only highlights the challenges of women who parent on their own, many of whom have "no safety net".

Sandberg says she never realized how often situations come up where she's unable to stop her son or daughter from crying. "We need to understand that it takes a community to raise children and that so many of our single mothers need and deserve a much more supportive community than we give them".

Single parenthood "is still a new and unfamiliar world", Sandberg acknowledges. For the protection of AP and its licensors, content may not be copied, altered orredistributed in any form.

Facebook Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook Sheryl Sandberg

"We need to build a world where families are embraced and supported and loved no matter how they fit together", she wrote.

"This year I am thinking especially of the many mothers across the country", the businesswoman wrote.

She wrote that after a year of single parenting, she has realized that single moms, of any social class, face struggles that many in partnerships sort of just can't get.

The COO went on to describe how single mothers often live in poverty, with women of color being of the most likely to experience such hardships.

Sandberg's strong convictions and empathetic approach will likely quiet some of her critics, particularly if she continues to advocate for all single mothers and their families - and she seems poised to do just that. "Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, mothers have always moved our nation forward and remained steadfast in their pursuit of a better and brighter future for their children. And yet our attitudes and our policies do not reflect this shift".

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