Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lean In: The hugely abbreviated version

I just finished the latest feminist manifesto.  The level of importance I ascribe to a book is perfectly proportional to the number of sticky-arrows used to mark up the reading.  I ran out of the markers three-quarters the way through.


A good friend made an excellent point that boys are statistically in more trouble than girls up through college graduation, when women earn 50-65% of the college degrees (depends upon the study you read).  However, if women are so much more educated, why are there only 21 female Fortune 500 CEOs?  Honestly, I read this for me, not for my kids.  (I read enough stuff for them!)

Here’s the notes that I highlighted from Lean In;  they are all verbatum except for one obvious Denise interruption. 

*      *      *      *      *       *       *       *

1. Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make things better.p 5

2. While women continue to outpace men in educational achievement, we have ceased making real progress at the top of any industry. This means that when it comes time to make decisions that most affect our world, women’s voices are not heard equally. p 5-6

3. In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. …We compromise our career goals to make room for partners and children who may not even exist yet. p. 8

4. If we want a word with greater equality, we need to acknowledge that women are less likely to keep their hands up. We need institutions and individuals to notice and correct for this behavior by encouraging, promoting and championing more women. And women have to learn to keep their hands up, because when they lower them, even managers with the best intentions might not notice. P 36

5. There is little downside when men negotiate for themselves. People expect men to advocate on their own behalf, point out their contributions, and be recognized and rewarded for them. But since women are expected to be concerned with others, when they advocate for themselves or point to their own value, both men and women react unfavorably. Interestingly, women can negotiate as well as or even more successfully than men when negotiating for others because in these cases, their advocacy does not make them appear self-serving. P 45

6. When negotiating, “Think personally, act communally.” …preface negotiations by explaining that they know that women often get paid less than men so they are going to negotiate rather than accept the original offer. Pronouns matter. P 47

7. Until we can get there, I fear that women will continue to sacrifice being liked for being successful. p49

8. “I want to apply to work with you at Facebook,” she said. “So I thought about calling you and telling you all the things I’m good at and all the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you: What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?” P 53

9. “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” p 54

10. “Tiara Syndrome” where “women expect that if they keep doing their job well someone will notice them and place a tiara on their head.” (Anyway, who wears a tiara on a jungle gym?)p  63

11. Alice Walker: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” p 63

12. By the time the baby arrives, the woman is likely to be in a drastically different place in her career than she would have been had she not leaned back…. By not finding her ways to stretch herself in the years leading up to the motherhood, she has fallen behind. When she returns to the workplace after her child is born, she is likely to feel less fulfilled, underutilized, or unappreciated. …She probably scales her ambitions back even further since she no longer believe that she can get to the top. And if she had the financial resources to leave her job, she is more likely to do so. p 94

13. When husbands work fifty or more hours per week, wives with children are 44% more likely to quit their jobs than wives with children whose husbands work less. p 99

14. Imagine that a career is like a marathon—a long, grueling and ultimately rewarding endeavor. Now imagine a marathon where both men and women arrive at the starting line equally fit and trained. The gun goes off. The men and women run side by side. The male marathoners are routinely cheered on. “Looking strong! On your way!” But the female runners hear a different message. “You know you don’t have to do this!” the crowd shouts. Or “Good start—but you probably won’t want to finish.” The further the marathoners run, the louder the cries grow for the men: “Keep going! You’ve got this!” But the women hear more and more doubts about their efforts. …. “Why are you running when your children need you at home?” p 100-101

15. Gloria Steinman: We know now that women can do what men can do, but we don’t know that men can do what women can do.” 120


17. Study after study suggests that the pressure society places on women to stay home and do “what’s best for the child” is based on emotion, not evidence. p135

18. Guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers. 137 (NOTE TO SELF: eradicate “bad mom” from all of my conversations, internal and otherwise.)

19. The New “F-word” (Marianne Cooper)—feminism (P 142)

20. A definition of leadership: Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” 157

21. The more women can stick up for each other, the better… Everyone loves a fight, and they really love a catfight. 162

22. Any coalition of support must also include men, many whom care about gender inequality as much as women do. In 2012, Kunal Modi wrote an article “Man UP on Family and workplace Issues.” He argued that “for the sake of American corporate performance and shareholder returns, men must play an active role in ensuring that the most talents young workers (often women…) are being encouraged to advocate for their career advancement….So men, let’s get involved now==and not in a patronizing manner that that marginalized this as some altruistic act on behalf of our mothers, wives, and daughters, but on behalf of ourselves, our companies, and the future of our country. 165-6

23. Because feminism wasn’t supposed to make us feel guilty, or prod us into constant competitions….. It was supposed to make us free—to give us not only the choices but the ability to make those choices without constantly feeling that we’d somehow gotten it wrong. 167

24. Susan B. Anthony: Our job is not to make young women grateful. It is to make them ungrateful so they keep going.” We need to be grateful for what we have but dissatisfied with the status quo. This dissatisfaction spurs the charge for change. 172

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