Lean In

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes. I believe that this would be a better world.”

lean inSheryl Sandberg makes that statement in her book Lean In. I finished reading it a while ago and since then I’ve repeated the statement above to many people. A number have asked if I really agree with Sandberg. I do agree wholeheartedly that more female leaders in every sphere of society would make our world a better place and that more men participating fully in child care and home care would make families healthier and happier and thus society happier and healthier too.  It is interesting however how many women I’ve talked to that don’t agree. They actually believe women aren’t as capable of good leadership as men and that men aren’t as good at caring for children as women. I don’t believe it for a second!

babyOne woman I talked with said men just couldn’t do as good a job of raising children because they don’t have the nurturing nature of women. Children need a mother as their primary caregiver. Sandberg says……..

“Studies from around the world have concluded that children benefit greatly from paternal involvement. Research over the last forty years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less-involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities.When fathers provide even just routine child care, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates.Their children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent.These findings hold true for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, whether or not the mother is highly involved. “

Several women I talked with weren’t sure that women make the best leaders. They figured women leaders let their power go to their heads. Jenna Goudreau a writer for Forbes magazine talks about the way women leaders are often stereotyped as being icy, tough, conniving and angry.  I have always thought it interesting that the qualities people admire in male leaders- grit, strength, the ability to think strategically and be passionately resolute are twisted into negatives when used to describe female leaders. 

Frieda Klotz also writing for Forbes says women bring skills of communication, empathy and a unique perspective to leadership. Women make up half the population so it would make sense they should be represented in at least 50% of leadership positions in every sphere of society so their perspective and gifts could help to bring about necessary change in the world. Sheryl Sandberg says…..

“The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve.”

Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In raises many important ideas, not new ideas, but important ones.  It has inspired me to become more outspoken about the need for women to lean into being leaders in their careers and share the load with partners in their homes, something I was passionate about and wrote and spoke about a great deal nearly four decades ago. Sadly it is something that still needs to be part of the conversation in our world. 

Other posts about women making a difference……

Three Remarkable Jamaican Women

This Woman Should Be A Jamaican Saint

Half the Sky

The Beatitudes Come To Life 

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Filed under Childhood, Culture, Family, Parenting, Politics, Reflections

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