I won’t buy Sheryl Sandberg’s book because there are many non-billionaire writers I would rather support.
I won’t buy Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead because I don’t agree with her premise that women are to blame for not being at the top.
It’s laughable to suggest that women aren’t “leaning in” when they’ve been charging ahead for decades.
After seeing Sandberg’s 60 Minutes interview, I’m just not convinced that the Facebook CEO gets it.
How could she? As Mitt Romney and many others proved throughout the Great Recession, America’s wealthiest live in such a rarefied atmosphere, they don’t understand the rest of us. They can’t.
And they certainly lack the empathy to understand “Other” — the poorest Americans.
I know a few women who have had it all, whose partners share (some) child care and house duties. These women are/were at the top in their professions, as high as they wanted to go, while balancing families and work obligations.
They reached the top because of their passion. They succeeded in their professions because of their singleminded dedication to their mission — public service, education, non-profits, for instance. They’ve succeeded because of their compassion for others, and their desire to improve their communities, especially for children.
Sandberg confuses corporate success with fulfilment because, one assumes, that worked for her.
I don’t know many women who see the world that way. But then, I don’t travel in Sandberg’s rarefied circle either.
Despite my own dispute with a billionaire’s premise that it’s women’s fault, I’m grateful to the Facebook executive for her courage in showing leadership in a privileged part of society that often ignores those not at the top.
I’m grateful for her energy, and for her optimism about changing corporate culture and ending gender bias. (Sandberg to USA Today: “The blunt truth is that men still run the world.” Really?)
I’m grateful that she’s embracing her own advice about leaning in, to challenge a culture that reflects only a portion of America — the privileged.
Yes, Sandberg is woefully naive about how business works below the executive level, and yes, she doesn’t seem to have much understanding of non-white, immigrant workers in this country, but starting a conversation at the top could help shatter stereotypes of women.
If she can inspire more girls to study math and science, if she can inspire more young women to aspire to corporate careers — and inspire more successful women to be their mentors, financiers, and supporters — then I support Sandberg’s call to action on behalf of women.
I welcome Sandberg’s contribution to luring more women to a business culture that stifles workers’ rights. Perhaps women can improve a culture that can’t see a link between profits and common good, that ignores public health and safety while defiling our shared environment.
Sandberg is right to warn that women are still earning less than men, still occupy only a fraction of corporate executive jobs, and are still penalized for wanting/having babies.
She’s wrong to blame it all on women. She’s wrong to claim that women in this country have made “no progress” or that their ambition lags because of their gender.
And it’s an insult to generations of feminists in this country who have worked tirelessly on women’s issues to claim that feminism is dead. In this country, feminists must fight still to protect Roe v. Wade.
Still, feminism can use her voice. When women leaders like Sheryl Sandberg lean in, more men listen. Especially men in power.
Sandberg has started a website, LeanIn.org, and is helping launch a think tank at Stanford University.