A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the glass escalator in which men ascend to leadership positions more rapidly than women in female-dominated occupations. Within it I cited 3 reasons for why this occurs: structural, societal, and personal.
It is little surprise that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book titled Lean In has led to some lively debate. On the Sunday’s, March 10th edition of Meet the Press Dick Gregory hosted lively a round table discussion of the book where the topic of women owning their power and personal choices arose amongst a largely female panel.
With the release of Sanberg’s book the personal aspect of why women are underrepresented in leadership has been highlighted. A theme in Sanberg’s book is that women hold back in their careers in anticipation of marriage and family even when those prospects are not within view. In other words we “lean back”.
Not only has the book been controversial because of Sandberg’s economic status, but some have criticized her for encouraging women to “lean in” versus working to amend a gender-biased system.
Which should come first – addressing the system or changing our behaviors?