Senior Leaders Say ‘Lean In’ Movement Should Leave with Sheryl Sandberg
It’s nearly 10 years since the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s groundbreaking book, Lean In, in which the Google alumni argued women should stop trying to be liked and start being more assertive to stake their claim at the boardroom table — or anywhere.
Lean In sold 4 million copies in five years, quickly growing into a movement, and Sandberg established the Lean In Foundation (now known as LeanIn.org) which offered leadership-hungry women even more resources and programming to get ahead faster.
But not everyone was convinced. Sandberg’s ethos to ruthlessly market oneself in the workplace attracted criticism for encouraging women to try harder, instead of dealing with the systemic issues that disadvantage women, like the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, and fallout from child-rearing career breaks.
Michelle Obama was among the detractors of the Sandberg ethos.
“I tell women that whole ‘you can have it all’ — mmm, nope, not at the same time, that’s a lie. It’s not always enough to lean in because that s*** doesn’t work,” the former first lady said in 2018.
Sandberg penned Lean In in 2007, just three years after joining Facebook — now Meta — as chief operating officer, but this week, one of America’s most powerful businesswomen called time at the social media giant, saying she was ready for a new chapter.
So is her groundbreaking manifesto the key to women finding success? With Verve founder and director Louise Gibson says it’s much more complicated than that.