Three days ago I picked my unopened copy of Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg. Three days later I’ve finally managed to put it down. No, I’m not graduating right now but I thought it was finally time to read a truly feminist book with the new EW feminist book club happening this year. Sheryl Sandberg has officially joined my short list of women heroes which includes Tina Fey, Miranda Hart, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and obviously, Emma Watson.
Usually feminism focuses on the external views on the rights of women in the workplace or at home. Sandberg instead turns the focus inward and analyses how internal forces are sometimes holding us back from achieving equality. It was a really eyeopening and unique read. As the COO of Facebook, Sandberg is a woman in power who can fully recognise the struggles of making it to the top in an industry that has a majority of males. She doesn’t blame women for inequality but instead she makes it more about what we can change in the world instead of asking others to change things for us.
LT Ratings: Overall rating: 9.5/10 |Writing: 9/10 | Research: 10/10 | Must read/ Average/ Pass: Must read!
For example, one of my favourite things in the book is when she discusses how women often sit away from the table whereas men join the table. I love that because it is absolutely true. Because of societal, cultural and familial influences, women have been cast in the roles of meek, subservient, and lacking unintelligent opinions. When we internalise and unconsciously accept those pre-cast roles, we decide not to join the table and voice our opinions. Men on the other hands, having always been in power, have much more self-worth and confidence. They join the table and voice their opinions. This has a negative impact on equality because if more men are speaking up and women are keeping quiet, there’ll automatically be more men rising to power. Sandberg says the best thing to do is to be confident, know that you belong at the table and speak up. Throw away your pre-cast roles and create new ones.
Ultimately, the Sandberg’s message boils down to having more women in power. True equality is achieved when there are equal number of men and women in power which is currently not the case even in developed countries (definitely not in under-developed ones). Having more women in power ultimately has the effect of making the workplace more accessible to women. This book isn’t just directed to women and it certainly doesn’t hate on men. It just points out how many things are still wrong with the a world where highly educated women are still not breaking through the glass ceiling and the number of women steadily decrease as they rise to the top.
Give it a read. If you’ve already read it let me know what you think in the comments below!
Until next time,