Reading the book resolved a lot of issues I assumed had no answer. The book by its title and at first seems to address work and leadership issues related to women. But somewhere before the middle unleashes its limitation and discusses personal lives of women. The work and family always remain together in the book, just as it is in real life. The discussion, work related or personal, remains objective and enlightening. India gets a mention quite often and the data related to it is well backed by references. There is an in depth understanding of the psyche of women and the reasons they harbour for the decisions they make. What I find remarkable about the book is how it explains with real practical examples until one is convinced of the point the author is trying to make. The language and the content of the book touch where one can feel.
I realised the insecurities I feel are felt by the vast majority of women across the countries. The pace of development of the technical dimension of work and emergence of new concepts can make any working mother feel challenged. The author comes forward as a strong propounder of equality amongst both sexes. The behavioural differences in women, at work or otherwise, is discussed and its reasons uncovered logically and systematically.
The guilt working women face for not always being available for their children is discussed at length and written in a way that one can easily identify with it. By the end of the discussion though one feels relieved for she explains how there is no reason to carry the guilt. The dilemmas of choosing the career or children as priority ever so often and ways in which to handle it effectively are exemplified.
The book motivates one to cherish the feeling of excellence and self fulfilment. It shows what one loses by not being confident and promotes risk taking behaviour too. If one looks closely at all that the philosophy of the book stands for, it probably just propagates living on equal terms and living full throttle. It suggests strongly cherishing of self and life. To me that is a primary way of verbalising one’s philosophy, to live it literally. I also approve how Sheryl suggests the one most important aspect to consider when considering a job as the growth potential of the place. The irrelevance of the designation one accepts is explained logically and coming from Sheryl Sandberg, one needs no more convincing. The places she has studied and worked and her relationship with her boss(es) is also a beautiful insight into the beauty of this not much discussed relationship. How she continues to be inspired by her ex boss makes it sound like, ‘once a mentor, always a mentor’, which is my truth as well and I identify completely with. Mark Zuckerberg, the young boss next, and people’s reaction to it and how she looks at it, is a learning beyond words.
The author being a successful woman professionally, residing in a liberal country, shares openly her thoughts and challenges on work life balance for women. Her wide experience and research brings about the realisation that biases and compromised opportunities for women is a worldwide phenomenon. Women reaching peak of their careers is uncommon and reflects the discrimination against them in personal and professional lives. The effects on the psyche of women have been so grounded over time that they are often not acknowledged. It is in partnership with men who can appreciate equality in all aspects that women can overcome compromising situations without compromising their careers and professional growth.
The author believes that having more women in leadership positions could be a major step forward. This could be effective in bringing out social change in a powerful and intensive way. Somewhere along the pages of the book, I noticed a lot of my inhibitions and fears on leaning in and accepting leadership position melted away. Being a leader may not be easy but it is equally difficult for both men and women. That is such a peace to me and means feminism for me.