'Lean In' inspiration for dialogue on inequality
Today, UA Aspiring Women Professionals will hold a discussion pertaining to the challenges professional women face. It will focus on the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” written by Sheryl Sandberg.
According to its co-founder and vice president, Cassandra Ott, the club UA Aspiring Women Professionals strives to provide women at the UA with opportunities to connect with and learn from both each other and women professionals.
Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook. She is the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board of directors, and prior to her time at Facebook, she was the vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. Sandberg also founded the nonprofit organization LeanIn.Org, which has been in the news recently with its campaign to “Ban Bossy.” Beyoncé may be the most prominent supporter of the movement, which encourages young women and girls to lead without the fear of being labeled as bossy.
Sandberg herself has a great deal to say about gender inequality in the workforce, which she outlines in “Lean In.”
The book has been a source of controversy ever since its publication in March 2013. “Lean In” continues to stay controversial, Ott said, because it forces readers to question gender inequalities in the workplace, and why they might persist well into the 21st century.
“Although women entered the workforce long ago … the idea of women having a career is still fairly new in our culture,” Ott said, “let alone the idea of a woman having both a career and a family.”
Ott and Sandberg say that there is no obvious solution and the problem will not disappear until the playing field is leveled, both socially and economically.
“Regardless of their major, the average UA student will move into the workforce sooner rather than later,” Ott said. “Personally, I think it’s important that every student recognize aspects of the environment they enter in order to decide whether it’s the right one for them or not; gender equality issues could possibly fall into that.”
The book discussion will be held in the Student Union Memorial Center in the Sabino Room from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and admission will be free. The discussion is meant to be accessible to everyone, not just those who have read “Lean In.”
The UA Aspiring Women Professionals club has three more meetings this semester, according to Ott, and is still open to new members from all majors.