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Lean In: Women’s Equality Happens Now

Last week, I read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. The command in the title itself is indicative of the impetus this book offers all cultures: close the gender gap and launch forward in women’s rights. Sandberg encourages women to “lean in” to the table and make their own decisions rather than sitting back and letting men take control. Her work speaks to the young and old, the wealthy and poor, and, especially to all men and women because she knows a complete movement for equality cannot be accomplished without efforts from both sexes united as one. Sandberg recognizes the burgeoning movement the campaign for women’s rights has made, yet she cautions her readers by way of Susan B. Anthony who marched in the streets before us and said, “Our job is not to make young women grateful. It is to make them ungrateful so they keep going.” The movement for women’s rights has much to accomplish—33 more cents to every man’s dollar to be exact. 

I hope that these ten quotes from Lean In allow you to make the small steps in the push towards equality. I call on the words of Margaret Mead to remind you, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 


1. “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” 

2. “’The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,’ Alice Walker. Do not wait for power to be offered. Like that tiara, it might never materialize. And anyway, who wears a tiara on a jungle gym? Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” 

3. “One of the first things he told me was that my desire to be liked by everyone would hold me back. He said that when you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress. Mark was right.”

4. “When we announced the opening of a new office or the launch of a new project, the men were banging down my door to explain why they should lead the charge…The women, however, were more cautious about changing roles and seeking out new challenges… You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

5 “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”

6. “Too many work standards remain inflexible and unfair, often penalizing women with children. Too many talented women try their hardest to reach the top and bump up against systemic barriers…We need more women in power. When leadership insists that these policies change, they will. We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.”

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

8. “But the upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of blissful ignorance.” 

9. “When woman work outside the home and share breadwinning duties, couples are more likely to stay together. In fact, the risk of divorce reduces by about half when a wife earns half the income and a husband does half the housework.” 

10. “I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you – yes, you – have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it.”



Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

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