Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wants to start a women’s workplace revolution. Sandberg unveiled her plan for high-achieving ladies during her 2010 TED talk, during which she lamented the small percent of women who have reached the upper echelons of their chosen professions. Next up, Sandberg will be promoting Lean In, her manifesto/memoir/self-help book slated for release on March 11th. According to the Lean In plan, women will organize themselves into small, active, cells; what Sandberg has trademarked as Lean In Circles. These Circles, by ascribing to the goals and teachings of Lean In, will constitute the building blocks of a larger social movement. According to Kat Stoeffel’s article from The Cut, these groups will give women a platform for sharing their own motivational stories. After show and tell, the women will all gather ‘round to watch an “education module” video curated by Sandberg herself. Sandberg believes that these groups will help educate women on how to get ahead in the workplace by pinpointing specific areas for improvement, such as women’s tendencies to not negotiate hard enough for a raise.

Jodi Kantor’s New York Times article on Sandberg and Lean In highlights some points at which Sandberg’s manifesto confuses or conflicts with traditional feminist ideology. First of all, most revolutions aren’t top-down operations. Kantor explains, “Even her advisers acknowledge the awkwardness of a woman with double Harvard degrees, dual stock riches (from Facebook and Google, where she also worked), a 9,000-square-foot-house and a small army of household help urging less fortunate women to look inward and work harder.” It’s that whole “look inward” thing that’s really throwing women for a loop. After all, shouldn’t Sandberg be using her position of wealth and power to change the system and make the office more hospitable for women, as opposed to urging women to adjust their attitudes and habits to make it in today’s male-centric workplaces? Sandberg fully believes that, “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” and that’s why “men still run the world.” While Sandberg certainly knows what she’s talking about, I’m guessing that the hard-working women who face misogyny every day won’t be so keen to sacrifice their precious free time in order to hear a lecture about what they’re doing wrong. 

Via The Cut, Images via The Guardian and Forbes

Tagged in: women in the workplace, The Cut, TED, sheryl sandberg, facebook, books   

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