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Continuing problems for career women

Although showing an improvement over the previous decade, the statistics on the presence and above all the role of women in companies and institutions leave no room for much doubt about the necessary action to be taken in order to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Out of 197 heads of government only 22 are women, while only 20% of parliamentary seats worldwide are occupied by women. If we look at the top 500 world corporations in the Fortune ranking, only 18 have female managing directors. Clearly this aspect is also involved in the type of culture adopted by a company. With wholly unexpected situations which crop up when a woman starts to talk about her life within companies, possibly those of a very high level.

This is the case of Sheryl Sandberg, 43 years old, American politician and entrepreneur and current Facebook COO. In her Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead she tells of her work experience in some of the world’s most successful companies, taking a look at what women can do to help themselves, also by changing the culture of the company where they work.

The book contains an interesting idea: if the majority of women are asked whether they have the right to equality in the workplace and the answer is a resounding “yes”, when the same women are asked whether they feel able to ask for a rise, promotion or equal pay, a certain degree of reticence creeps into their answers.

Sheryl Sandberg therefore narrates, explores and identifies crucial passages, examples and stories which explain how far companies, women and men also have to go in order to solve problems of cohabiting and corporate culture. This produces an updated and disenchanted cross-section of the presence and role of women in US companies and institutions, a snapshot of the myth of equal opportunities and the situation of women at work in the USA which suggests and can teach a great deal also to companies in other countries.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Sheryl Sandberg

Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

Facciamoci avanti: le donne, il lavoro e la voglia di riuscire

Sheryl Sandberg

Mondadori, 2013