Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they’d feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in. The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women’s favour – of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meager eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortunemagazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.
I’ve been interested in reading this book ever since I watched Sheryl Sandberg’s Ted Talk on the topic. Being an economy and business student, I’m always interested in reading and learning more about the workplace. Especially concerning women. The fight and struggle for equality has been going on for a long time, and we’re still not completely there.
What’s interesting about Sheryl’s book is that she doesn’t only give examples from her own life, but looks at the struggle with an open mind. She doesn’t only see the way men hold us back, or society does, but how we hold ourselves back.
I have to admit that prior to the Ted Talk, I had no idea Sheryl Sandberg was the COO of Facebook. I found her work experience and history very intriguing. Before working at Facebook, she worked at Google. She started there when it was still a very small start-up and took a big risk with it. But she has never regretted it. That to me shows how many opportunities there really are in life, and that you should grab them if you can!
I was surprised many times during this read. I knew beforehand that we haven’t achieved true equality, of course. There are many things still blocking said achievement, such as the gender pay gap. However, it’s not just the big things that still happen. It’s the little ones that are just as important: women who don’t respect other women’s choices, not giving men and women equal opportunities for promotion in the workplace, disgusting comments, etc. Those are all just as important!
I like how Sheryl Sandberg really emphasizes choice. It’s okay to choose to become a career woman -which doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy family too. It’s also okay to choose not to be. That’s what equality should mean. The true freedom of making your own choices. And what has to change in our society is the view we have on it. The view that women should be housewives once they have children, or at least have a lower-level job with less hours. The view that man can’t be stay-at-home-dads. The view that you shouldn’t take a promotion because of the future children you may have. We should all stop judging each other. Don’t judge a woman who chooses to work long hours or have a high level job. Don’t judge a woman who chooses to stay home and care for her children. Those are both equally important jobs, because the children our the next generation. Don’t judge a man for working long hours. But don’t judge him for choosing to stay home and care for the children either.
I truly learned a lot from this read. It’s very inspiring, and I think it will help me in the future. We are all guilty of those little judgments from time to time. Maybe because we’re jealous of that person, even. But if I ever do those things, this book will help me realize and correct said behavior. Because now, I’m aware of it.