Madeleine Albright once said, “there’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, stands diametrically opposed to that proposition. Not only has she personally helped other women, but also created an oasis where women can support each other.
Sandberg’s new book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” immediately became a No. 1 Amazon bestseller. More importantly, it reignited the conversation about gender equality in the workplace and at home. Through her book, Sandberg urges women to “lean in” and assert themselves, to act fearlessly and to demand equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
Some critics find Sandberg’s quest for gender equality outdated. But the statistics in Sandberg’s book are staggering: women make up only 14 percent of executive officers, 18 percent of elected congressional officials and 22 of 197 heads of states.
There is no doubt that the glass ceiling is far from broken.
Sandberg’s book inspired the creation of LeanIn.org, a non-profit organisation that addresses the shortage of women in executive roles, among other things. Lean In is a platform for women to share their stories, provide mentorship and free-of-charge guidelines to each other. The organisation has a three-dimensional function: first, it nurtures an active community where women can exchange stories and ideas; second, it educates women on leadership and communication skills; and third, it facilitates the formation of Lean In Circles, small, private empowerment groups that meet monthly.
In a video describing her Lean In vision, Sheryl Sandberg stated the following: “part of what I’m hoping Lean In will do is really start a conversation in every workplace, in every company, in every school to start thinking about gender differently”.