Does Leaning In Really Benefit Women?

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1Photo: Courtesy of Knopf
We're all for Sheryl Sandberg and the Lean In nation, but it seems that the solution to gender inequality may not be that simple. According to a new study detailed by The New York Times, being more assertive at work still doesn't enrich women's working lives the way it does for men. Professors at the University of Toronto analyzed a survey of the Canadian workforce to find out how things like larger salaries and more authority affect the happiness of men and women — and the results were anything but encouraging for us women-folk.

It turns out that men are able to gain happiness and feelings of value simply from bigger titles or control over more subordinates, while women need to see (and, more importantly, feel) actual evidence of being influential to gain that same happiness. And, sadly, men seem to be much more likely to feel influential at work, even with the exact same level of power. Researchers believe that this boils down to longstanding stigmas of gender inequality — men are taught to feel success by landing the corner office, while women aren't considered successful until they're kicking ass both in the office and at home.

So what does this all mean? First of all, these findings could prove to be very valuable for keeping women in positions of power. Ladies forced to sacrifice aspects of their personal or family lives to thrive in their careers may be less likely to persevere. Thus, employers need to start doing more to show their appreciation for women, starting with equal positions of power and equal pay. However, it could also come down to each woman individually. It's comforting to know we're not the only ones wondering when all this hard work will feel worth it. Maybe it's time to stop being so tough on ourselves and realize we're actually doing pretty good. (The New York Times)