When Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, she had already worked in reputed government and non-government organizations for a significant period of time. She had also been through a divorce after a marriage that lasted just one year and had married for a second time and had two children from her second husband. This gave her adequate insight into the different work environment, the existing problems for women at work, and the problems of a relationship where a partner is not completely supportive of the other partner’s ambitions. With two children, Sandberg also understood the many doubts and the trying phases of motherhood that a woman goes through.
She uses all of her experiences and her insight into work-life balance to write a book that can help women gain confidence at work and help them rise into leadership positions. As a leader herself, Sandberg feels that when more women are in leadership positions, then it is more likely that they will be able to bring changes in the work environment that reduce gender bias and value men and women equally.
In her book, she explores the concerns of working women and the prevalence of gender bias even in this age. She also discusses the problems faced by women because of existing biases which have been deeply ingrained in the society. She talks about situations that many women can relate to and have experienced in their own offices.
Additionally, the book also talks to women about the doubts they face when they start planning a family. Through her book, Sandberg encourages women to work even when she is planning a family so that she does not feel like she is stuck in a job which does not fully match her potential after she returns from maternity leave.
There are a lot of practical tips for ambitious women to do well in the office. She also advises women to choose their partners carefully since supportive partners can help them further their careers while non-supportive partners can bring an unexpected change in their ambitions where they may either be forced to leave their jobs or settle for jobs with fewer responsibilities.
The book has received a mix response from readers. Some have been able to quickly relate with Sandberg’s experiences and her advice. Others feel that Sandberg does not completely explore the problems of women with respect to their financial status, the existing relationships and the cultures that they have grown in. As a result, the book appeals to only those women who can afford the luxury of a nanny, the ability to choose their own partners and the chance to voice their concerns at work.
The book even led to the creation of the Lean In organization by Sheryl Sandberg. The organization aims to empower women to take up more leadership roles and help each other grow successful.