Cat fights, back bites, and dog fights pop up with neighbors, co-workers and even in church Bible Studies when it comes to personal opinions of what the “good” working mother looks like. Not only do women struggle with developing their identities as business professionals, but must deal with judgements, either self perceived or those of well meaning PTA mothers, of not measuring up to someones standards, and now the professionals are weighing in.
Lean In - Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg’s recent publication, addressing the failure of women to thrive in the corporate environment has raised hackles among many working women but also opened dialog regarding the realities of women in the workplace. Sandberg says “individual women need to overcome their own internal and external obstacles.”
Maybe it’s not women who need to lean in, but companies need to bend and learn to recognize women with potential, just like they do with men. Plenty of women have leaned in to make hard decisions and hard sacrifices, being head of household, and repaying the price of education and student loans. Women have leaned in every time they applied for jobs and were passed over when any doubt was raised family would come first and anyone who says it doesn’t happen isn’t living in the real world.
While Sandberg is an advocate of “Lean In” circles, wouldn’t women be better served and advance both in career and mommy-hood if genders were blended in dialog when discussing success and how to obtain it? From where I sit, leaning is more about learning and empowering. Shouldn’t the work environment be less about gender, and more about corporate and family values being interwoven? I’m curious, what would that look like?