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Leaning In to Lean In

I've been listening to the audiobook version of Lean In, which is simultaneously empowering and infuriating. It is empowering because she gives clear ideas on how women can succeed in the workplace and in life in general. Infuriating because it's making clear to me the unfair realities of our culture's gender stereotypes--cultural norms that really hold down women in conscious and unconscious ways. The author, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has a lot of wisdom to share. But the thing that strikes me most as I listen to this book, is that she writes with authority that she feels she's been given. She writes--even without knowing her faith--as though Galatians 3:26-29 were really true: "There is no longer . . . male or female." She continuously writes about how women operate, respond, and carry themselves differently. She is also clear that women--even doing the exact same thing as a man--are often perceived differently. But she never stops to prove that women should be just as welcomed in the work place as men. She doesn't go on about how our differences make us better suited for certain jobs or roles. Instead, she assumes that women are called, capable, gifted, and qualified to work, lead, and serve in many ways. In fact, she reminds readers that more undergraduate and graduate degrees are earned by women than men, so women may actually be more qualified in many cases. That said, she makes clear that our cultural stereotypes hold women down and make us feel as though we have few or no options, especially when it comes to working while starting a family. Her words, based on scientific data, have opened my eyes to dynamics that I'd never noticed before. She's even made me aware of my own biases. And I've learned a few things about living up to my calling in a way that works with cultural norms rather than against them. I'm excited to read the rest of the book and discover more. But I'm even more excited to discover what God will do in and through me as a result of this empowerment.

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