Most of talk around women in the workplace of late has been of the Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In variety. Women, argues Sandberg’s book, can break through the so-called glass ceiling by simply being more tenacious, proactive and self-empowered. The dialogue is often framed around getting women into positions of power, pushing for more female CEOs, and urging more women to brave the climb up the corporate ladder.
How wonderful for feminism to rally around the cause of elevating women to shake their fists against the vaunted glass ceiling, we think, abstractly.
But that’s not how most women live. Keep reading »
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? That’s what LeanIn.org, the organization established by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In: Women, Work And The Will To Lead, wants you to ask yourself. Would it be calling yourself a writer or a musician? Would it be asking for more money? Would it be standing up to men who sexually harass you? In this touching video and accompanying essay by Sandberg herself, Lean In challenges women to face our fear and stop being afraid to take risks. The ode to ambition is not an all-encompassing solution, but it’s a great start — just the encouragement a lot of us need. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? [LeanIn.org, IfUWerentAfraid.Tumblr.com]
Last week, The New York Times published a fairly straight forward news piece on the bountiful array of studies conducted here and in other parts of the world that suggest that offering paternity leave to new fathers could actually help stimulate the U.S. economy while also supporting women in their quest for work/life balance. The piece starts off with a brief anecdote from writer Catherine Rampell’s personal experience, about having two relationships come to an end because the men she was dating expressed a desire to see her eventually put aside her career, at least temporarily, should their relationship become so serious that they get married and have children. She writes:
I don’t pretend to know how common this situation is, and how many other young women have found themselves in it. But it clarified not only the choices that future mothers must make about their careers, but also how early in their careers they must begin to think about them. And while fairness and feminism may urge us to find better ways for women to balance work and life — Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter have certainly made impassioned cries — the most convincing argument seems to be an economic one.
The rest Rampell’s piece focuses on how women who hope to have children someday have a better shot at being successful at “leaning in” at work if their male partners are “leaning in” more at home, and are being given the support to do so via things like paternity leave. And, more importantly, should the United States follow in the footsteps of countries like Sweden and Norway and offer paternity leave, it would not only benefit those straight couples who chose to partake in more balanced work-life accommodations, but the economy as a whole. Men would be given the flexibility to spend those precious early weeks with their children, women wouldn’t find putting their careers on the backburner the more financially feasible option, and, by keeping more women in the workforce, the economy would grow. Rampell offers a whole bunch of supporting evidence and, all in all, it is one of the least objectionable pieces I’ve read on the benefits of our society striving towards equality for men and women at work and in the home.
But lo and behold, one person managed to be deeply offended by Rampell’s article: Tom Matlack, the founding editor of The Good Men Project, who published a response called “What’s A Guy To Do?”, which, among other things, calls Rampell’s piece an “attack on dads-at-large.” Say what? Keep reading »
There’s been a lot of discussion as of late about Sheryl Sandberg‘s bourgeois and somewhat apolitical version of feminism, Lean In. It seems like everywhere I look, the feminist discourse has been taken over by discussions of the ways in which women hold themselves back at work, how we need more women at the top, why Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won’t call herself a feminist, etc. As a feminist with some serious socialist leanings, I am mildly annoyed by this, but I’m also kind of happy, because it gives me a chance to discuss how and why feminism must go beyond talking about how the most privileged women should be allowed to self-actualize at the highest levels possible, to the issues that concern that vast majority of the female workforce.
As I see it, there are really two issues here: 1.) “Lean In” feminism isn’t feminism in any traditional sense of the word, and 2.) even if we do decide to think collectively (and hence politically) re: women in the workplace, that’s not going nearly far enough. Read more at The Gloss…
No, that’s not the headline of an Onion article. It’s proof that sometimes people can admit they’ve done wrong and try to change it. Case in point: Cisco CEO John Chambers, who released an impressively candid memo to his company admitting that he hasn’t exactly “walked the talk” when it comes to supporting women in the workplace.
Chambers released the memo after he and his executive team met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author of the new book Lean In, about women in the workplace. Sandberg’s book (which, full disclosure, I haven’t read yet) outlines the dilemmas faced by women in trying to move forward in the work world while still raising their families. Keep reading »