There is a lot in this article that is Very True.
We applaud companies for paying for female employees to freeze their eggs, but don't push them to give women the space to have children during their actual child-bearing years and come back to work without losing their place in line. Instead of changing the systems, we tell women to lean in. Because of course, it's our fault for not taking initiative. Fuck you. I'm leaning so far in I'm falling flat on my face.
OK, with or without the "Fuck You" this is a great line. Such a great line, I'm repeating it.
I'm leaning so far in I'm falling flat on my face
This could have described the first 10 or so years of my career. And, in retrospect I was scared out of my wits much of the time. I made all sorts of compromises. What hurts most in retrospect was all the times I wasn't taken seriously. But, it was what it was and now I am older and have a little distance and its not quite so personal.
I never liked the Lean-In philosophy - it struck me as very classist. That is, people with lots of money, and jobs at the top can afford the nannies and personal support staff to make it work. They don't have the mind-numbing fights about money with their partner that eat away at a relationship. They're not choosing two of: sleep, children, job. Or sanity. One could add sanity to that list.
I also liked this part:
Nor do I think that the world owes me an easy life, or that I should get to make choices with no trade-offs, or have all these things without working really damn hard for all of them. ... I do think, though, that we should cut it out with the fairy tales already. Stop telling women they can have everything without sacrificing anything. Here's the truth: You want to have a career and kids? You totally can, but both will suffer.
Two points here: One, choices will be made, things will suffer. That's life. Two, honesty about it, and not the crap from rich CEO's who have Staff. It's fucking hard.
The world is a hard place for everyone. A student I had, a brilliant hard working (white male) student, was supporting his family, which included a disabled Vietnam Vet for a father who was, I believe the technical word is, nuts. My student, who got a master's degree with me, two first author pubs, but worked 30 hours a week at another job the whole time. He was more tired than everyone else in the lab. Combined. In the end, he left my lab and didn't do science. At the time he said he couldn't afford it, even with a scholarship. We are still in touch, and he called me up the other day and we had a chat. He's built his own very successful company, he's got two children and is happy. I am glad. His parents had an easy retirement, such as is possible for them with their burden. He is proud of that. He is also cognizant of his privilege in life, and has done things to give back and support others. But he is not a scientist or academic today, and sometimes he wonders.
It is harder for some people than others. I, personally, am sensitive to the class issues, in part because of my mother, in part because of my teaching experiences. I do not minimize anyone else's problems or struggles or boulders in their life paths. And, as friends, allies, mentors, we must do what we can to help. And one of the things that does not help, in my view, is telling folks to lean in.