Lean In with #femlead

By Brenda Bethman

Technically, this post is not really about technology (although Sandberg does work at Facebook) — but it is about women, which is the other focus of this blog. And it’s cheating a bit as it’s a cross-post from my personal blog, but it’s April and I’m sick, so it will have to do. Enjoy!! And join us tomorrow and May 14 on Twitter to talk about the book.

lean inIf you’ve been conscious and tuned in to the media at all over the last 6 weeks or so, you have probably heard that Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, wrote a book that people are talking about (just a bit). You may also have heard that there is a fair amount of disagreement in feminist circles about Sandberg’s book and whether it’s helpful or harmful to women.

We at #femlead decided these were questions worth pursuing — so the next two #femlead chats (4/30 and 5/14) were be dedicated to a discussion of Lean In as well as the discussion around it. The chats will be facilitated by me and the fabulous Liana Silva. We hope you can join us and below are some links in case you want to do some pre-reading.

Joan C. Williams and Rachel W. Dempsey, “The Rise of Executive Feminism” in HBR

Anne Marie Slaughter’s review in the NYT

Lean In and One Percent Feminism” in Truthout

Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning In?” in Dissent

Jill Filipovic, “Sheryl Sandberg is More of a Feminist Crusader..” in The Guardian

Catherine Rottenberg “Hijacking Feminism” on AlJazeera

Jessica Bennett, “I Leaned In: Why Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Circles’ Actually Help,” in New York Magazine

On Lean-ing In” at Racialicious

Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” Message Not Enough for Women, Especially Professional Latinas” at Huffington Post

The Feminist Mystique” in The Economist

Joan Walsh, “Trashing Sheryl Sandberg” at Slate

Questioning Sheryl Sandberg: We’re Not “Trashing,” We’re Exploring” at The Broad Side

Tressie McMillan Cottom “Lean In Litmus Test: Is This For Women Who Can Cry At Work?”

Elsa Walsh, “Why Women Should Embrace a ‘Good Enough’ Life” in the Washington Post

Originally published at http://brendabethman.com/2013/04/22/lean-in-with-femlead/

Lean In with #femlead

Highlight a Woman – Make that 2!

By Kathryn Magura

Today I have the pleasure of highlighting a woman in the field of Student Affairs. As I ruminated on who to highlight, I decided to bend the rules (Sorry Kristen!) a little and highlight 2 women I have met via Twitter.

  1. Kate McGartland-Kinsella: Representing our friendly Canadian neighbours, Kate is passionate about serving students and championing for the success of other women. I had the pleasure to meet Kate last year at the ACUHO-I annual conference in Anaheim, CA, and immediately noticed how Kate is very genuine and friendly. I also think it’s possible that Kate is always smiling. Kate is a stalwart champion for finding ways to provide “PD for Free” opportunities for staff who may have limited resources for professional development. I recommend connecting with Kate on Twitter to learn how to be a selfless advocate for the success of others. Or if you liked the Sweet Valley High series growing up.
  2. Amma Marfo: Amma is a young professional whose authenticity and genuine spirit shines through in all her interactions on Twitter. Amma and I connected via the student affairs community on Twitter, but quickly learned that we have a lot in common: from a love for all things 30 Rock/Tina Fey to serving students on campus with an unwavering passion. Amma impressed me this past January when she decided to take on the “Snap Challenge” and live off of a food stamp equivalent diet for the month. If you want to push yourself past the traditional ways of serving students, I highly suggest you connect with Amma and check out her blog as well!


Kate and Amma inspire me, and I can say I’m a better person for having met them (well, Amma and I have yet to meet in person, but watch out when we do!). Who inspires you?

Highlight a Woman – Make that 2!

On Leaning In: Pay Equity

By Anitra Cottledge

My first post in a couple of months and I’m thinking not strictly about tech, but about pay equity and salary negotiation. By now, I gather that most reading this have heard/seen the “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” TED talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. But if you haven’t, here’s an opportunity to do so.

Her key messages for women in the workforce: “One, sit at the table. Two, make your partner a real partner. And three, don’t leave before you leave.”

I use this video a lot in trainings. I think it has a lot of uses; it can be a vehicle to talk about women’s leadership, women’s relationship to power and privilege, confidence, workplace climate issues, salary negotiation and by extension, pay equity. Sometimes, people love the video when I show it, and other times, people have plenty of critique. And sometimes, people have both reactions at the same time, which is wonderful for dialogue.

A few other things on my radar re: Sheryl Sandberg and pay equity:

  • She’s (Rarely) the Boss – NYT op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof, which talks about (in part), Sandberg’s ideas about gender gaps in the boardroom. “We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve. We continue to do the majority of the housework and child care. We compromise our career goals to make room for partners and children who may not even exist yet.”
  • Lest you think that Sandberg doesn’t think that men also have a responsibility to create a gender-fair workplace: “I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto,” Sandberg writes. “And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto.” However, this article written in response really emphasizes that responsibility that men have.
  • More on the pay-equity-and-economic-justice-as-systemic-issues front: “Trickle-Down Feminism” and an earlier piece called “Paycheck Feminism.”

Thoughts? What are some other resources that you’ve found online about pay equity and women in the workplace?

On Leaning In: Pay Equity

Blog Prompt Monday: Getting Into A Technology-Focused Career

By Kathryn Magura

Happy Monday everyone! Today’s blog prompt is one that resonates with me, because it allows me to share my accidental journey into the world of technology.

How do you get into the technology field without a background in technology?

Well, the honest answer to this question is quite simply: you get out there and do it! Not quite as helpful as you hoped? Well, let me share my story with you then. I went to college knowing I would receive a degree in some sort of Liberal Arts area. I was drawn to Psychology, so I pursued that as my major. Early on in college, I remember meeting with an academic advisor to determine if I wanted to go for a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences. The gist was: a Bachelor of Arts required a second language, and a Bachelor of Science required computer classes and more science classes.

For me, there was no real decision to make. I had taken German in high school, and figured I would take a couple of years of it at the college level and fulfill my Bachelor of Arts requirements. Why on earth would I put myself through the rigors of a Bachelor of Science degree when I refused to take computer classes. That’s right, I refused to take computer classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my computer. I had been surfing the internet before it was really in style. My family had also had a computer for my brother and I to write our high school papers on way before many other families could afford one. That said, the actual technology behind computers scared me. I’m not sure when I came to this conclusion, but it seemed like I had always known I was never good with technology.

In retrospect, it seems really sad that I never trusted my abilities when it came to technology. Even when I had always had a natural ability to learn and use a variety of technologies. I was always the one to program our family VCR growing up, and had even helped my father (the engineer, it should be noted) reprogram his air conditioner when it wasn’t working right. Yet for some reason, I always felt dumb when in came to computers.

My senior year of college, I had the opportunity to work in the Housing office. While the work focused heavily on customer service, it also required me to use the University information system and Microsoft excel a lot. I was fearful of looking dumb for not knowing how to use the technology, but I jumped right in with an eagerness to learn. As I started to learn the ropes, I was surprised to see what a natural I was with the technology. Not only did I pick up the systems with ease, I was able to train others! Where the heck did this ability come from?

Flash forward a few years to about a week ago. One of our resident directors needed some help pulling data together for a meeting. I had some time available in my calendar, so I invited him over for a lesson on the greatness of excel. As I was pulling the data together from the University data warehousing system, I could see his jaw sort of frozen as I swiftly shifted from one screen to the next (side note, dual monitors are a true godsend) to capture all the data needed. I then switched over to excel where we put the data into pivot tables, charts and graphs.

As I was training, I could hear the excitement in my voice. Who knew I could get so excited by a pivot table?? I even took time to send out this tweet:

After we had pulled all the data needed together for the meeting, the RD looked at me (a little glazed over. Whoops.) and asked if I had always been this good with technology. I simply stated that no, I had not been, and had actually been afraid of it for the longest time. It took pushing myself past my comfort zone by just getting in there and using it for me to actually learn that I was indeed quite skilled with technology.

My point in sharing this story is to encourage others to take the technology leap. Get out there and test the waters! Don’t feel comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite? Get out there and take a training course! Most are either free or inexpensive. There may also be people out there willing to share their knowledge with you, if you are willing to seek them out. Trust me, if I can get over my own fear of using technology you can too!

So what’s your technology story? What advice do you have for others who want to get into the field of technology?

Blog Prompt Monday: Getting Into A Technology-Focused Career

Blog Prompt Monday: Dinner Party with Amazing Women

By Kathryn Magura

When I saw the blog prompt for today, I was really excited:

“What 5 women throughout history would you like to have a dinner party with and why?”

Seriously, how awesome is this question? Think about the amazing fun we could have at a dinner party! As I began to think about my answer, I became a little nervous at making the right choice. Who would I choose? How can I narrow it down? What would we all talk about?? I decided to just go with my gut, and pick 5 amazing women who I would love to meet, or to have met. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Tina Fey: I have been a HUGE fan of Tina Fey’s since her days at the helm of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. Tina’s quick wit, security in being a successful woman in her chosen field, and ability to be honest about who she truly is has been an inspiration to me. If you haven’t read Tina’s book, Bossypants, I highly suggest you do so now. I still want to be here when I grow up.
  2. Hillary Clinton: Confession time: I have not always been a Hillary Clinton fan. In fact, when she was running for President a fear years ago, I was a staunch opponent. Over the last few years, I am happy to say that I have developed a sense of respect and admiration for Hillary. Hillary is a strong woman, who isn’t afraid to be exactly who she is in a room full of powerful men. Hillary is a leader, a mother, a wife, and supporter to many communities. Not only am I a fan now, I truly hope she is able to run for President successfully in 2016.
  3. Princess Diana: I was always fascinated by Princess Diana as a kid. Here was this beautiful woman who survived a public divorce as a British royal. It seems like Princess Diana never got a moment of peace in her short life, and I sort of wish I could just give her a hug. It’s hard for me to believe she was only a few years older than I am now when she died.
  4. Clara Barton: Clara Barton is credited with bringing the Red Cross to the United States, and becoming a champion and health advocate for others. Apparently, I am distantly related to Clara Barton, and would love to have the opportunity to thank her for being a woman who committed her life to serving the needs of others (and see if the familial connection is true or not).
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt: When I was in the second grade, I remember writing a book report on the biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. Even at such a young age, I knew the woman I was writing about was wonderful and strong woman. What a mentor she was for future female leaders!

I could go on, but the prompt wisely asked me to pick 5, so I opted to go with the first 5 to come to mind. Think of the amazing conversations we would have at this dinner! Now your turn. Which 5 women would you invite to dinner?

Blog Prompt Monday: Dinner Party with Amazing Women

A Woman’s Right to Vote

By Kathryn Magura

It’s election day here in the United States! And while most of us will be relieved to have the daily deluge of political ads come to an end, how many of us take the time to reflect on the power of our vote? As a woman, I have not really thought much about what it means to even be able to vote. But not that long ago, women were literally giving their lives for the ability to vote.

Over time, my thoughts about voting have ebbed and flowed. I remember the first time I thought I was going to be able to vote, I was actually a day shy of being 18 in time for the election. I was annoyed because I wanted to vote and express my opinion (I’m guaranteed to always have an opinion about something). In my 20s, I became frustrated with politics, and started to think that all politicians were the same and didn’t really have my interests at heart. I was so disheartened, I considered not bothering to vote on more than one occasion. It didn’t help that George W. Bush was reelected one year on my birthday. Oh the joys of early November birthdays.

As I have gotten older, I think I have developed a stronger appreciation for the ability to vote. As a woman, I am very aware that we haven’t always had the ability to express our opinions through voting. While I have been tempted not to add my vote at times, I feel like I owe it to the women who have come before me and fought so hard for this right. I am also a firm believer that I have no real right to complain about politics (specifically politicians) if I don’t vote. What does complaining without action really get me? If I don’t like someone, I’m going to express my opinion through my vote for the other candidate.

This year marks 100 years since women have had the right to vote in Oregon: http://centuryofaction.org/. When I found this out, I knew that I owed it to the women’s suffrage movement over a century ago to ensure that my vote gets cast. It is a privilege to have this right, and one that should not be taken for granted.

So ladies, make sure you get out there and vote. I don’t care who you vote for (ok, I do. Please don’t vote for Mitt Romney), just vote! Share your voice!! And who is with me in hoping there is a Hillary Clinton/Michelle Obama ticket in 2016? 😉

A Woman’s Right to Vote

Linkage Love

by Kristen Abell

As we get closer to the elections, some of the information that is being bandied about is, well, maybe a bit less than true. And as a woman, I can’t tell you how tired I’ve gotten listening to men debate about my reproductive rights, my right to pay, my rights as a woman. It can be down right depressing to listen to any of it at this point.

But I bring you hope – there are still a bunch of folks out there doing good things as women and for women. Today’s Linkage Love is dedicated to them. Here are a few of my favorite places to visit to remember that it’s good to be a woman…

There are few organizations more important for women in education than the AAUW (American Association of University Women). Whether it’s highlighting the differences in education of girls and boys, or providing grants and research to support women in S.T.E.M. fields, the AAUW has long been an organization that promotes the equal education for our girls and women.

Ms. 40th Anniversary Cover

Regardless of your political leanings, I think it’s safe to say that Planned Parenthood does some extremely amazing (and extremely needed) work for women. Before voting for anyone that might strike funding for Planned Parenthood, I hope you’ll take a few moments to read what they’re really about at their website. Especially for those of us working with students who may not have insurance or deep pockets, Planned Parenthood’s services can be vital.

Finally, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, please do take a look at the White House’s “1 is 2 Many” campaign. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional it makes me to see this campaign coming from our nation’s leaders, especially considering the lack of support that has generally come from that direction in the past. For the first time in a long time, I feel like some of the work I have done in the past to support women in abusive relationships isn’t for naught.

What are your favorite sites to visit when learning about women’s issues? Where do you go to remind yourself that there’s still a lot of good happening for us?

Linkage Love