The woman who would not shut up

18 Mar

I have been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.  Despite being a self-appointed feminist, I feel unqualified to comment on many of the debates around the book. But what inspired me and reminded me of development discussions is Sandberg’s willingness to speak out where there have been so many evasions and euphemisms:

In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves.

If current trends continue, fifteen years from today, about one-third of the women in this audience will be working full-time and almost all of you will be working for the guy you are sitting next to…If you want the outcome to be any different, you will have to do something about it.

Within traditional institutions, success has often been contingent upon a woman not speaking out but fitting in…

It was a no-win situation. I couldn’t deny being a woman…{but} pointing out the disadvantages women face in the workplace might be misinterpreted as whining or asking for special treatment.

I decided it was time to stop putting my head down and to start speaking out.

Social gains are never handed out. They must be seized.