Stop telling women to just “lean in.” Michelle Obama has had enough of the gospel that says women can get ahead at work and at home if they simply take the lead and be assertive.
Speaking in Brooklyn on Saturday night for her Becoming book tour, the former First Lady spoke candidly about the impossible expectation of “having it all.”
“That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same say,” Obama said, as reported by Vulture. “That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”
Preach it MO. The crowd lost it when Obama swore, prompting her to apologise for the ~profanity~. “I forgot where I was for a moment! I thought we were at home, y’all,” she said. “I was gettin’ real comfortable up in here.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg coined the term “leaning in” in her 2013 book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, suggesting women should be leaders instead of followers.
The book drew criticism at the time for simplifying the complex issue of the gender gap in the workplace and for leaving out underprivileged women.
Last year, Sandberg herself admitted that “leaning in” wasn’t as effective as she hoped it would be.
“We are stuck at less than 6 per cent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world. There were 19 countries run by women Lean In was published. Today there are 11,” she said in 2017.
Obama is spot on when she says women can’t experience equality in both their professional and personal lives “at the same time” – no matter how far we lean in.