Marina Whitman on learning to climb the jungle gym without falling off

July 13, 2013

In a July 13 op-ed, Marina v.N. Whitman admits that before she had read "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," the new book by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, her impression concurred with other critiques that Sandberg must be "out of touch" with the lives of working women. Now that she has read the book, however, Whitman writes, "I can't think of a better self-help guide."

Whitman agrees with the fundamental argument of the book, which posits that the greatest barriers to women's success in the professional world are how they view themselves and the behaviors that result. Whitman writes:

"The advice [Sandberg] gives is practical for any woman trying to make her way up the professional ladder: Take your seat at the table where the action is; don't hesitate to speak up; don't let the fear of not being liked stand in the way of asserting yourself; help your spouse to become a true partner in parenting, and set priorities so that you don't wear yourself out trying to do it all."

Whitman also discusses her own careers in the male-dominated sectors of government, business, and academia. She writes: "As I climbed the ladder—or, as Sandberg describes it, the jungle gym—of professional life, I found myself more and more often asking when I gave a talk to a mixed audience, why it was that the men raised all the questions."

Read the complete article here.