Sheryl Sandberg’s Good Fight

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has written a manifesto about breaking the glass ceiling that is drawing fire, because she argues that women not only face familiar hurdles, but also often sabotage themselves. But is it always offensive to advise women to change in order to achieve their goals?

NEW YORK – Is it always offensive to advise women to change something about themselves in order to ensure that they can achieve their goals? To suggest the need for any self-scrutiny on women’s part is a minefield; the safe ground is to urge that we remain focused only on fighting all-too-real gender discrimination. But sometimes it is necessary to cross the minefield.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has done something pretty gutsy. She has written a manifesto about breaking the glass ceiling, called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, and is drawing fire for it, because she argues that women often sabotage themselves.

Critics are already attacking Sandberg on the grounds that she is blaming the victim. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who wrote a much-read article about the glass ceiling last year, has sought an open debate about where the problems lie. Others, unfortunately, attack ad feminam: Sandberg is rich and powerful, so how can her advice be useful to struggling, underpaid everywomen?

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