Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has described her new book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” as a new “feminist manifesto.” Several Cornell University researchers – all leading female scholars with expertise ranging from management and economics to working mothers and the “opt-out” pressure women face – are available to discuss the potential impact of Sandberg’s call for change.
Sharon Poczter, a managerial economics expert and professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, is quoted in Sandberg’s book. She comments on the unique challenges professional women still face, and the energy ‘Leap In’ is bringing to the push for change.
“The fundamental issue at the center of the current debate around ‘Lean In’ is not about trying to define whether or what flavor of feminism Sheryl Sandberg herself or her philosophies represent, or even whether having the decisions to make discussed in her book represents a privilege confined to a particular income, or socio-demographic class.
“The fundamental issue is that we are all dealing with the constrained optimization that is life, attempting to maximize our utility based on parameters like career, kids, relationships, etc., doing our best to allocate the resource of time, regardless of race, gender, income and job title. And for many reasons this optimization is resulting in a discrepancy between college education and leadership later on in life for women only.
“So while the takeaways from ‘Lean In’ may not apply perfectly for every person’s situation, tackling this schism from a practical ‘what can we do today’ aspect represents a giant leap for the new feminism ‘Lean In’ helps create.”
Additional Cornell experts available include:
Wendy Williams, professor of Human Development and director of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science
When scientists choose motherhood
Williams research finds that it’s women’s choice to become mothers, not work climate factors, that prevent mothers from advancing as successfully to tenured faculty positions in science, technology, engineering and math. Her study, “When scientists choose motherhood,” was published last year in American Scientist. The study is available at: http://bit.ly/yoIzwf
Sharon Sassler, professor of Policy Analysis and Management
The employment experiences of mothers: The “opt out” debate
Sassler’s research finds that the employment patterns of highly educated women following childbearing are also contributing to the growing divide between more and
less-educated women and their families. Her study, “Class differences in women’s family and work behaviors,” was published in 2010 in the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. The study is available at: http://bit.ly/YXGXoU
Rachel Dunifon, professor of Policy Analysis and Management
Mothers’ night work and children’s behavior problems
Dunifon was awarded a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the influence on children of maternal employment patterns. Many mothers working low-wage jobs must work evenings or weekends, have little control over their schedules, or have long commutes. Rachel's work examines how these factors influence children's health and development, parents and family routines. Her study, “Mothers’ Night Work and Children’s Behavior Problems,” was published earlier this year in Developmental Psychology. The study is available at: http://bit.ly/X3ijRe