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This is an Instaread Summary of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
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When Sandberg got pregnant she was working at Google, which at the time was only an obscure startup. As the company grew, and her pregnancy advanced, she started to notice things that were not helpful to her condition, such as the lack of parking spots for pregnant women at the front of the building. She expressed the need for pregnancy parking to Sergey Brin, one of Google’s founders, and he immediately agreed. This experience made her wonder about other pregnant women who suffered in silence due to the lack of parking and other special considerations.
Women in the modern developed world, thanks to the work of their predecessors, are better off than women of the past and women in undeveloped countries. However, there is still a lot to do. Figures show that women are still at great disadvantage when it comes to obtaining positions of leadership and equal salaries to men. When Sandberg started working she thought things were changing, but she soon realized they were not because she was often the only woman in the room.
Sandberg believes that a truly equal world would have women running half the corporate world and men running half the homes. Collective performance improves when you tap the entire pool of human resources and talent. This should start by having more women in positions of power. However, there are many external and internal barriers to this goal. The external barriers include: sexism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. In addition, women are normally expected to prove themselves. They are promoted based on past accomplishments, whereas men are often promoted based on potential. Women also face barriers within themselves: lack of self-confidence, prejudices, and low expectations. It is critical for women to overcome these internal and external barriers.
The first chapter of the book lays out some of the complex challenges that women face, and each subsequent chapter focuses on how to overcome each of them.
It is not a memoir, nor is it a self-help book. It is written for any woman wishing to increase her chances to make it to the top.
As a disclaimer, Sandberg acknowledges that she has been criticized for “blaming the victim” by pressing women to change themselves, but the truth is far from that. She believes that female leaders are the solution to a more balanced world. It is time to encourage more women to “dream the possible dream” and more men to support their effort...