Why Can’t Women Support Other Women?

Posted on March 12, 2013.

Talk about a double standard.  The negative reaction to Sheryl Sandberg's new book “Lean In” is causing such a visceral reaction. And sadly, the negativity is primarily from women. I’ve seen numerous comments along the lines of,

            “ she never had to face the challenges women  my age battled”

            “ she’s no role model”

            “wouldn’t believe a word out of her silver spooned mouth”

            “she probably has a live-in nanny raising her kids”

These comments are from women, not men. What’s wrong with you? Why is it so hard to support another woman and champion her success instead of tearing her down?

I don’t remember people speaking so negatively about Donald Trump’s “Art of the Deal”.   People may not have liked the book, but I don’t remember hearing things like “I wouldn’t believe a thing he says out of his silver spooned mouth”. I don’t hear people diminishing the success of Dr. Phil, his many books and TV success because he had Oprah as his mentor.

I haven’t read Ms. Sandberg’s book and I doubt that many of her critics have either. But her basic premise about women taking more control of their own destiny is the right message for women.  I didn’t go to Harvard, had to work my way through both undergraduate and graduate school and I couldn’t agree with her more.  I believe her book is not about clawing your way to the top, but as  Arianna Huffington suggests “ that as well as institutional barriers to success, women face a lot of inner barriers- voices that, as she puts it, urge you to “leave before you leave””.  I have seen  this first hand working in a Fortune 100 company and it has nothing to do with Ms. Sandberg’s background, her pedigree or her Harvard education. 

I just wish for once women could find a way to support one another; to make it about having choices, not about the choices you make. We should applaud Ms. Sandberg for a) making it to the executive ranks of a Fortune 100 company and b) having the courage to share her experience with others.

I for one can’t wait to read her book.