Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,’’ has sparked enormous debate and controversy — and that began before its actual release on March 11. Without the benefit of reading her words, but relying on the publicity blitz that catapulted the book to best seller status based on pre-orders alone, thousands have weighed in on Sandberg’s call for women to “lean in” and more aggressively pursue their ambitions.
The passion that spills from so many of these early responses demonstrates just how difficult it is for women who are navigating the difficult terrain of work, career success, and family responsibilities. As Sandberg points out, women have been stuck in the quicksand of bad — and sometimes worsening — statistics for decades. Even as women have outnumbered men in college and graduate schools and have poured into the workplace in nearly equal numbers for decades, we have made little headway in achieving the top leadership jobs, the corporate board seats, or in shrinking the vast gender gap in compensation.