The old maxim “Behind every great man there is a great woman” is about as relevant as the sanitary belt. In today’s world, “Behind every successful woman is another successful woman” — at least according to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, coiner of the term Lean In and founder of the women’s nonprofit organization of the same name.
In Lean In’s new campaign, “Together Women Can,” the best-selling author and champion of women in the workforce asks all women to #LeanInTogether — with a little help from a #GirlSquad to rival Taylor Swift’s. The campaign’s promotional video features powerful women (Kerry Washington, Emma Watson, Lena Dunham, Megyn Kelly, Eva Longoria, Serena Williams, Abby Wambach) from the entertainment, sports and television industries describing just how crucial women are to the success of fellow women in the workplace.
Each celebrity names the badass female who had the greatest impact on her career. Kerry Washington opens the video, attesting, “I’m not sure what my career would look like if not for Shonda Rhimes.” For Emma Watson, that person is Sophia Coppola, Lena Dunham shouts out Jenny Konner (to the surprise of no one), Serena Williams thanks her big sister and so on and so forth.
In an interview with Arianna Huffington — one of Sandberg’s biggest workplace allies — Sandberg describes “Together Women Can” as “a public awareness campaign celebrating the power of women supporting each other. The campaign emphasizes that women can be powerful allies for each other at work — and are uniquely qualified to do so because we experience many of the same challenges. When a woman helps another woman, they both benefit. And when women celebrate one another’s accomplishments, we’re all lifted up.”
In addition to touting the video, the nonprofit’s website offers tools for learning how to support the women in your life, including tips on how to be a workplace ally, mentor, and “positive peer,” as well as how to be a role model for young girls. (Step 1: Make sure women’s ideas are heard. Step 2: Challenge the likeability penalty. Step 3: Celebrate women’s accomplishments. Et cetera.)
Like Sandberg’s breakout work, which has been criticized for minimizing the barriers women in the workforce face — especially women of races, classes and sexualities that differ from its wealthy, white, cis author — the tips provided do seem to be geared towards “employable,” educated women. Nonetheless, it’s a step in the right direction and we’re all for females working together to combat systematic flaws, even if we do have to start small.
[ h /t The Cut ]