The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 9, 2013

Facebook exec's new book urges women to 'lean in'

(Continued)

Sandberg peppers the book with studies, reports and personal anecdotes to back up her premise — that for reasons both in and out of their control, there are fewer woman leaders than men in the business world and beyond. For example, the Fortune 500 has only 21 female CEOs. Sandberg is among the 14 percent of women who hold executive officer positions and the 16 percent of women who hold board of director seats, according to Catalyst.org.

For minority women, the numbers are even bleaker. Women of color, she writes, hold just 4 percent of top corporate jobs and 3 percent of board seats.

"A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes. I believe that this would be a better world," she writes. "The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve."

At less than 200 pages, plus a good chunk of footnotes, "Lean In" does not purport to be the end-all solution to inequality. It deals with issues Sandberg sees as in women's control.

"Don't leave before you leave" is one of her catchphrases, aimed at successful women who gradually drop out of the workforce in anticipation of children they may someday bear. "Make your partner a real partner" is another. She says everyone should encourage men to "lean in" at home by being equal partners in parenting and housework.

"Lean In" is, by and large, for women who are looking to climb the corporate ladder (which Sandberg calls a jungle gym), and ideally their male supporters. She hopes it's the start of a conversation. To that end, Sandberg plans to donate all of the proceeds to her newly minted nonprofit, LeanIn.org.

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