The Importance of “Leaning In”
The Importance of “Leaning In”
Being a woman is incredibly difficult, nearly everywhere in the world. There is gender inequality in nearly every field and aspect of life, from lower wages to the pressure to remove body hair. That being said, being a woman in the western world is infinitely times easier than being a woman in places where they are more oppressed.
Without being insensitive, it’s important to understand that even in the western world, things are not exactly where they should be. It’s essential to note that women occupy only 20% of senate seats and only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs, despite the fact that they are earning 56.9% of bachelor’s degrees. There’s still a lot more that can be done, in terms of advancing women in the world, and most of it has to do with ‘leaning in.’
In Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” she emphasizes the fact that the reason there isn’t enough female leadership at the top ranks of companies is because women aren’t pushing themselves to get to the top. She describes the various internal and external trials that women go through as they advance in their career. These challenges detail the hardship of going back to work after having children, finding a mentor, and a supportive life partner.
As she writes about these dilemmas, Sandberg supplements the text with her own personal narrative, and this definitely embellishes the book in a really thoughtful, readable way. Her key message, “leaning in,” really encompasses the ideals that modern day women must embrace in order to advance in their careers. To “lean in” essentially means to push oneself and climb the career ladder with the knowledge that women can succeed in anything that men can. Sandberg also glides over the realization that if there are more women at the top, advancement in one’s career becomes much easier for women who are just starting off.
It’s safe to say that without a new generation of women “leaning in,” these statistics won’t change for the better, and that progress will become stagnant. There is an immense danger in a lack of progression within women’s issues because it often hints at worsening conditions in terms of the leadership gap and other things that affect women daily. The future implications of this issue are complex and frightening, if gender parity in top levels of the workforce is not secured, then corporate America will continue to lose huge amounts of potential and women will still not have achieved equality to men.
It is interesting to see that this situation is quite unique to the United States, studies have shown that in Sweden,—a country that should be applauded for its impressive amount of gender equality—the government goes to great lengths to ensure that women should have equal power to men in nearly every aspect. Until we reach that level of inclusiveness here in the States, women will need to continue leaning in to their potential for and right to success.
Prathusha Yeruva hails from the Great Lake state and is currently a sophomore at Troy Athens High School. She has an interest in biology and journalism, as well as in female empowerment. She founded a She's the First chapter at her high school (an organization that sponsors girls' education in the developing world), and that opportunity has definitely given her a more developed lens on women's issues globally.