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Lean In

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

By Sheryl Sandberg
18-minute read
Audio available
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Through a combination of entertaining anecdotes, solid data and practical advice, Lean In (2013) examines the prevalence of and reasons for gender inequality both at home and at work. It encourages women to lean into their careers by seizing opportunities and aspiring to leadership positions, as well calling on both men and women to acknowledge and remedy the current gender inequalities.

  • Anyone interested in understanding and remedying inequality at work
  • Anyone who struggles with the challenges and expectations of combining a career with family
  • Anyone – female or male – looking for solid career advice

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and formerly a vice president at Google as well as the chief of staff of US Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers. In 2011, she was ranked the fifth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

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Lean In

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

By Sheryl Sandberg
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 12 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Synopsis

Through a combination of entertaining anecdotes, solid data and practical advice, Lean In (2013) examines the prevalence of and reasons for gender inequality both at home and at work. It encourages women to lean into their careers by seizing opportunities and aspiring to leadership positions, as well calling on both men and women to acknowledge and remedy the current gender inequalities.

Key idea 1 of 12

Despite tremendous strides, we are still far from gender equality.

In today’s developed world, women are better off than ever before, thanks largely to the women’s movement in the past century. But though at first glance it may seem like the battle against inequality has been won, there is still much to do.

Consider compensation: In 1970, American women made 59 cents for each dollar men made in similar jobs. While that figure has risen, progress has been slow: in 2010, it was still only 77 cents. As one activist noted wryly, “Forty years and eighteen cents. A dozen eggs have gone up ten times that amount.” Nor is this problem unique to the U.S.: in Europe, the current figure is little better at 84 cents.

In addition to being monetarily undervalued, studies show that women’s performance is also unfairly denigrated. When asked to assess the performance and growth potential of otherwise equal employees, both men and women discriminate against women.

But surely this applies only to the ignorant and misogynistic, whereas we enlightened individuals would be fair?

Surprisingly, the same studies show that the more impartial the evaluator claimed to be, the more they actually discriminated against women.

This kind of “benevolent sexism” is far more dangerous than the overtly hostile kind, for the perpetrator usually has no idea how his or her attitudes hurt female colleagues and thus feels no compunction to reassess them.

At home too, inequality lingers. For example, it is broadly assumed that it is a woman’s job to raise children. When asked whether they expected their spouse to step off their career track to raise children, 46% of the men surveyed said yes, compared to only 5% of the women.

Despite tremendous strides, we are still far from gender equality.

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