The contrast between Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and the book reviewed yesterday is striking and I managed to read this one as an interlude to the other so the juxtaposition of 18th-century imbecilic oppression of women and 21st-century confused frustration on why (big) gaps remain kept me chuckling for several days.
This book is a lot more balanced than its critics have portrayed it to be. The author does not claim that all the problems that women have in getting to the top are self-inflicted. She clearly highlights the essential role that men, especially fathers, can play in allowing their partners to pursue a career of her own: they need to “lean in” at home, learn what the kids want for their lunch (and pack the lunch), know their shoe sizes, and their teachers’ names. She is also clear that corporations need to address both the practical issues of allowing employees to have a life as well as the subtle snubbing of women for high-profile positions. And she speaks openly and rather endearingly of her own life and challenges, whether it’s waddling through the parking lot while pregnant or admitting that she is the one who plans the birthday parties rather than take responsibility for paying bills.
In the introduction to the book she says that it is not a feminist manifesto. That puzzles me, especially when she adds that she hopes it will inspire both men and women. Isn’t feminism for everyone?