Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and the author of the bestselling book ‘Lean In’. I became a fan of her a few years ago when I heard her TED talk on women in the workplace and since then I have been avidly following her career. Incredibly smart and also both warm and funny, Sheryl has really brought women’s issues to the forefront. I think her work has really started to remove some of the negative stigmas attached to the word ‘feminism’.
Both the book and her talk discuss how most women tend to behave in working environments. Often, without realising, we’re afraid to speak up, take credit for our work and demand promotions or pay rises. The pressure of wanting a family, even before we’ve found a partner, sometimes causes us to back away from jobs with long hours and stressful conditions. All these little actions (or lack thereof) mean we are often overlooked when it comes to moving up in the corporation and having a stagnant career makes us more likely to exit the workforce altogether in later years. Those were just my key takeaways from the book. It’s filled with lots of other insights that are useful for both men and women.
Since the publication of the book, Sheryl has also launched LeanIn.org where women can share their own stories and create circles in their communities to discuss and also celebrate the women around them. Her latest endeavour has been working with Getty Images to change the way that women are portrayed in stock photos. She rightly says ‘We can’t be what we can’t see”. Our environment has such a strong effect on us. We need to see realistic images of women. Here are some Lean In photos juxtaposed with existing Getty ones: http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/10/10-ridiculously-cliched-stock-photos-of-women-vs-lean-ins-alternatives/
Whether you like the book, or even the woman herself, there’s no denying the amount of effort she has put in for gender equality. For all of this, she is most certainly one of our most inspirational women.
Shaleena & Roshni
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