Lean in is a book by Sheryl Sanders in which she mainly tells anecdotes from her working experience, what she has noticed on how women are treated in their workplace, and shares her opinion on why perhaps there aren’t as many women leaders as men. Sandbergs’ way of thinking is that men and women are raised and socialized differently, taking as an example of women that are encouraged more than men to do particular jobs. She provides a large number of statistics and research studies that show that women’s voices are not heard equally as men’s.
The book begins with Sheryl talking about her first pregnancy, the difficulties she had because she couldn’t move due to her overweight. Sheryl shares statistics about the percentages that women cover in parliament, schools, board seats and corporate jobs, which are definitely less than men globally. Women face lots of obstacles in professional part for example sexism, discrimination and harassment, which lead to women not feeling comfortable in their workplace and not give the maximum effort they usually do.
People all the time say that women can never be more powerful than men, even though women are the ones that do everything for their family, taking care of their children but in the meantime also following their career goals. Her argument is that women need to eliminate the external barriers so that they can achieve what they really need and deserve to have. She describes how hard it is to manage having a career but also children, not all women wants both because they know that it can be an impossible thing. She is basically saying that you cannot have It all, but what you can do is to make a choice that is right for you and will make you happy and not feel guilty.
The first chapter called’ leadership ambition gap’ talks mainly about her family history, firstly talking about her grandmother Rosalind who gave up education in order to earn a few money for living. Later on her parents sent her back to school and then she graduated from US Berkley. She paid attention to her husband’s business, making sure it didn’t fail but she also wanted her children to have the best education. Sandberg also shares her mother’s history, how she chose teaching but quitted it after being pregnant with her. Her parents had the same expectations for her and two other siblings, not depending on their genders. She always believed that she could do everything that men could, and that every path in her career would open, not minding the fact that she is a woman. After finishing her school years, she thought that the world might evolve but it was quite the opposite, she saw women and colleagues having difficulties at handing their career and their family, most of the time deciding to quit work. She got disappointed and expressed that lots of well-educated and na?ve women missed their chance to be a top CEO or leader. Men are lucky, because they can have a successful business life but also a personal one since they don’t have to quit their job to take care of their children because that’s why women are for. But according to her, women can have both of them too, but they fear too much which leads to barriers for them. Women with fear cannot pursue their professional and personal success. She wants women to ask themselves what would they do if they weren’t afraid? Afraid of making wrong decisions, afraid of being liked. Sheryl defines that she didn’t mean to motivate women by her speech, but they motivated her and by being so, she is showing to them that this book is what she would do if she weren’t afraid.
‘Sit at the table’ is a chapter in which Sandberg talks about a meeting where she invited 15 executives to have a discussion together. She noticed that women seemed like they were spectators that only listened but not say a word. When the meeting finished, she gathered the four women and told them that they shouldn’t have any barriers and not feel insecure just because they are women. She also describes a phenomenon of people that are concerned of having self doubt, also called impostor syndrome, in which women tend to experience it in a more intense way than men. Another point she mentioned was that men and women also differ from the way they describe failure. When a man fails, he tries to find an excuse by blaming other factors, meanwhile women tend to accept the fact that she might have been able to properly finish it. Sheryl starts talking about her personal experience in school, where her insecurities started to show off and how she dealt with them. In August 2011, her name was the fifth out of 100 most powerful women. She was shocked to find out but then she felt embarrassed because she didn’t feel comfortable with that title. But Sheryl knows that her success comes from hard working but also from help she got from others to reach the position she already is. She now completely believes in herself and her abilities.
Third and last chapter for this review is called ‘Success and Likeability’, in which the author talks about an experiment done to see the perceptions of women and men in the workplace. The results of that experiments were that success and likeability in men is always seen as a positive thing, meanwhile in women is seen as something negative. That’s because someone would always have something negative to say for a successful woman. Women tend to work more hours than the usual without getting any extra money, meanwhile men want to get paid for everything they do or just don’t do it at all.
These 3 chapters were motivating and full of inspiration for me to reach career goals in the near future. Women need to get what they deserve and not to be put on the side just because of their gender. They face lots of difficulties in their working place such as harassment or sexism which leads to lots of negative effects in their life. They have to minimize their barriers and stand up for their rights and to not be afraid of anything. My favorite chapters were the first and second one because they were more interesting to read also with lots of anecdotes which made me want to read even more. I would suggest this book to every woman that has lack of motivation and inspiration to go ahead and achieve her career goals.