What’s it about?

Lean In (2013) examines the prevalence of and reasons for gender inequality both at home and at work. It encourages women to lean into their careers by seizing opportunities and aspiring to leadership positions, as well calling on both men and women to acknowledge and remedy the current gender inequalities.

About the author:

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and formerly a vice president at Google as well as the chief of staff of US Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers. In 2011, she was rated the fifth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

Despite the obvious improvement women are witnessing when it comes to gender equality, they are yet to be sidelined in so many ways:

In many countries and especially in the united states, women’s rights are slowly but surely getting better. Women have developed from being house-wives to taking top positions in the real world. At least, it is not surprising to see a woman on the board seat anymore; it’s instead becoming a quite norm to see her occupying a congressional position. Sure, some parts of the world still treat women as slaves and property, but the good news is that other developed countries are learning to respect and equalize the female gender.

Despite everything, men are still the rulers of this world, and the working field is still considered a challenge for a woman. Some companies are yet to pay men more than their women counterparts. Women occupy only a tiny percentage of the board seats and the congress.

The female gender needs to elevate. It is our responsibility to force more respect in society.

Women are still getting cheated out of compensation for work:

It is widespread that women get paid less than their men counterparts in the same job. Back in 1970, American women were getting paid only 59 cents for every dollar a parallel man-made. Many protests and hard work later, the percentage was raised to 77% for every dollar.

Like the payment gap was not enough, women have a tough time getting a decent job in the first place. A woman leads only 17 independent countries out of 195. And only 21 lead the Fortune 500 CEOs. The gap between the two genders is undeniable, and it is much worse for women of color.

Women continue to outdo men in the educational field, and yet they fail to make real progress at the top of industries. This translates that when it comes to world-affecting decisions, women’s voices are not even nearly heard as men’s.

Gender equality is always pledged but never really given:

Amid all the cries, there is always that promise for equality. However, everyone seems to fail to understand the difference between the promise of equality and real equality.

A truly equal world is one where women run half the countries and companies while men run half the homes. This is a better world.

The conditions of every woman’s life will better when more women occupy leadership roles and give prominent and influential decisions toward their needs and concerns.

The barriers women face are so deep that they exist within themselves:

“In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves.”

-Sheryl Sandberg 

Unconsciously, we hold ourselves back in many ways. Due to the lack of self-confidence, we find ourselves holding back instead of leaning in. We lower our expectations of what we can achieve, and most importantly, we compromise our career and goals to accommodate the family. Only a few of us push for higher positions. 

Every woman needs to eliminate the external and internal barriers preventing her from gaining power. Every woman should be bold enough to march into the boss’s office to demand what she needs. We need to prove worthy instead of engaging in meaningless arguments over which gender should come first. We should get rid of the internal obstacles as we deal with the external ones. 

“Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.”

-Sheryl Sandberg

Learn the balance between your ambitions and you appeal to others:

Women need to build the right public image to advance their careers. When you are too ambitious, people might perceive it as rude, so you have to be assertive going for what you want. Without making yourself unnecessarily difficult, demand what you want to reach your goal.  Be considerate while trying not to be insensitive. Draw the boundaries and make them explicit. Be accommodating and try to be nice.  

“Start out by aiming high. Try – and try hard. I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open.”

~Sheryl Sandberg