Understanding the Woman-Led Backlash Against the “Lean In” Movement



Nearly ten years ago former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg became the “face of 2010s-era corporate feminism” when she published her book Lean In, which advocated for women to be more assertive and empowered at work. Since then, the book has been simultaneously celebrated as a much-needed manifesto for working women … and a one-dimensional tech industry perspective that failed to acknowledge the many systemic barriers at work that women often face.

Now that Sandberg is stepping down from her role and close to a decade has passed, the moment is inspiring a backlash as some people question whether her insights have moved women in business forward or ultimately held them back. If you are a professional woman working in business right now, what do you think? Do you identify with this idea of “leaning in” as the right way to build your career, or do you feel that this expectation that it is your responsibility to assert yourself underestimates the cultural and institutional barriers that stand in your way? I’d love to know.