What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “Breadwinner”? How does this JC Penny commercial compare to that image and what does it say about 21st Century working woman’s journey? How about the 21st Century working man?
This is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She wrote a book called Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead that hits stores tomorrow. In conjunction with the book, Sandberg is kicking off a movement that involves women coming together into 8-10 person “Lean In Circles” to encourage one another as they pursue leadership positions at work while balancing family and other responsibilities.
Lean In emerged from this TED talk and this commencement speech at Barnard College where Sandberg discusses her take on why there are so few female leaders. In a nutshell, Sandberg suggests that women tend to “lean back” rather than “lean in” at work, unlike their male counterparts.
Sandberg and her movement have people talking. Lots of people.
She’s is on the cover of TIME Magazine with a headline that reads. “Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful” that led Forbes to accuse the magazine of starting a “Cat Fight” between women who support Sandberg’s message and those who are challenging it.
And reactions to Sandberg and her message are undoubtedly mixed.
Supporters believe she is reinvigorating a stalled feminism at a time when aspiring Generation Y leaders are entering their 30s.
Detractors claim she is blaming women for a lack of cultural/organizational supports that would allow women, particularly working mothers, to “lean in”.
My pre-ordered book hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve read it myself.
In the meantime, I’ll be Tweeting the 60 Minutes interview tonight @joanpball and will be checking in with this story over the next few weeks. I’d love to hear what you think of Sandberg’s message and how it intersects with your work/life journey.
Let’s follow this story together!