leaning in

I saw this article the other day on Getty Images‘ effort to change the way we look at women. Called the ‘Lean In Collection‘, after Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, the collection features stock photos of women leading in life and work.

While we all know women doing marvelous things in the home and in the workforce, juggling multiple roles, and succeeding in fields traditionally populated by men, the images we see in the media and in advertising don’t always reflect this. I also particularly love Getty’s effort to ensure diversity in race, age, career and family situation, because again, stock photos are often so full of stereotypes.

I’ve read (and reread) Lean In a couple of times now. As a young professional with both career and family ambitions, Sandberg’s book has both sparked numerous conversations with friends and made me continue to reflect on the path that lies ahead. Here’s a handful thought-provoking quotes from Sandberg…

On perfectionism:

“Another one of my favorite posters at Facebook declares in big red letters, “Done is better than perfect.” I have tried to embrace this motto and let go of unattainable standards. Aiming for perfection causes frustration at best and paralysis at worst.”

On ‘being nice’:

“Women need to combine niceness with insistence – be relentlessly pleasant.”

On ‘having it all’:

“I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, “Yes, I have it all.'” Because no matter what any of us has—and how grateful we are for what we have—no one has it all.”

On inadequacy:

“She explained that many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are- impostors with limited skills or abilities.”

On ‘female’ leadership:

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

On powerful women:

“Real change will come when powerful women are less of an exception. It is easy to dislike senior women because there are so few.”

On choice:

“Today, despite all of the gains we have made, neither men nor women have real choice. Until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either.”

On likability:

“Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”

On men at home:

As more women lean into their careers, more men need to lean into their families. We need to encourage men to be more ambitious in their homes. We need more men to sit at the table… the kitchen table.

On career progression:

Career progression often depends upon taking risks and advocating for oneself – traits that girls are discouraged from exhibiting.

On the supposed ‘stay-at-home vs. working mums’ debate:

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. So let’s start by validating one another. Mothers who work outside the home should regards mothers who work inside the home as real workers. And mothers who work inside the home should be equally respectful of those choosing another option.

P.S. – and since we were on the topic of stock photos, what happens when ‘Arab’ stock photos go terribly wrong (hilarious!)


2 thoughts on “leaning in

  1. Pingback: career advice | laura swanson

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