Haliburton County Living: Lean In

Bessie’s Books and Other Things

Bessie Sullivan

I was a university student in the 80’s when it was very popular for young women to take Women’s Studies and be aware of women’s issues.   Unfortunately at the time learning what I did depressed me rather than galvanizing me to act. I watch my daughter, now at university, study the same issues I did and realize that there seems to have been very little change for women in that 25 years. That said I have pursued leadership roles in my life despite knowing what I did.  The key difference between my daughter and I is that instead of being depressed, my daughter is determined.   What is even more interesting is that my son also realizes that women have not achieved equality in the work force, nor at home.

A recent publication takes on this issue; Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, common sense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Lean In

Thirty years ago women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States but men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives.  Although this is also the case in Canada women fare slightly better by making approximately 82 cents on the dollar as compared to 77 cents in the United States.

Google Books talks about Sandberg and her book, “Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In Lean In, Sandberg combines personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home. “

What I liked most about the book was that Sandberg never claims to be an expert nor an academic, she reflects upon a number of issues using her own experience.  There are obviously some aspects of her life that are not accessible for all of us, for example, she can afford a full-time nanny to care for her children.  However, that is her reality and she doesn’t expect everyone to be like her, she just hopes that men and women both can learn from what she has to say.  You can reserve a copy of Lean In at any branch of the Haliburton County Public Library or online at http://www.haliburtonlibrary.ca

*Originally published in Haliburton County Living on August 1st 2013

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