4 February 2015

What toilets tell us about gender equality #BeaniesBookClub

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

In a Nutshell 
Lean In is stuffed full of easy-reading anecdotes, demonstrating how gender equality still prevails and what can be done by individuals female (and male!). I'm careful to say 'what can be done' not 'how women can help themselves' as Sheryl does not burn her bra and shout freedom with bare breasts and a picket sign, in fact like every girl I asked she didn't like the associate with the word feminist. Just like freakonomics, Sheryl has fresh ways of looking at women in leadership and doesn't talk of huge walls to climb, she tells you little proverbs that make you go "ahhhhh that so simple, why hasn't anyone thought of this before?"

Who should read it?
Everybody! Emma Watson raised a valid point in her UN speech in that it is just as important for men to be feminists. And yes I'm sure many had said it before, but she got the media to listen - feminists aren't only for the feminine. Men should understand why gender equalities exists and what they can do to help. I asked Josh if he was a feminist and he scoffed. This needs to change and getting men to read this book would be a great start.

OK, ok so I'm waffling. Men & women who are about to enter the workplace AND those who have sat at a desk for decades.

Thinking juice required?
This is a very easy-going book. The chapters are short and there are no characters or clues to keep track of. Without being crude it's the sort of book you could keep in your bathroom and pick up where you left off no matter if it had been hours, days or months.

... So what is this toilet malarkey?
A standout anecdote starts when Sandberg is talking about the time she was pitching to a big dog important guy. It's going well and they take a break. All she wants to do is pop to the toilet, but guess what? Big Dog doesn't even know where the ladies is. He's embarrassed (let's get this straight he's not an arsehole and neither are most males) it is clearly just not something he's been asked before.

It's a perfect illustration of how the figures may say that women are progressing, but the complete absence of women at the top is still an issue.

Nice story I thought, until I worked as a temp this Christmas and guess what? Yup, the toilets spoke to me yet again. If I wanted to go to the toilet I had to go through the doors towards the office floor. Men? They had an extra toilet than woman... right by all the meeting and boardrooms. I hasten to add this building is by no means 'old' or even 'a bit old'. It has huge all glass walls in reception a vast lobby that so typical of the corporate office.

Now are you going to go read it and let me know what you think?

Ps. Lean In Org is a whole organisation aimed at rocketing women to success and leadership. The Lean In instagram is very inspiring - full of the stuff you need to read on a Monday morning.

Pps. Equally as great is my instagram - food, puppies, food, puppies, sunsets and more food. Come join me?
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