Yes, Women Need Men to #LeanInTogether

Sheryl Sandberg became the face of the #LeanIn movement that promotes gender equality in the workplace after publishing her book, "Lean In." (Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum, via Wikimedia Commons.)

For every horrible, aggravating, frustrating, ridiculous and unnecessary thing that happens to me just because I’m a woman, or just because I’m black, there are rays of hope.

Without these rays of hope, I can’t really contemplate my existence. It would be barren. Hopeless. I don’t know if I would exist in the shape and form that I currently do. I might be crazy, and justifiably so.

Today, I ran across an article filled with quotes from men who support women. It was just the ray of light I needed to shake off the latest evidence of sexism in the workplace that crossed my desk. The piece went directly to the source, men who recognize, acknowledge and have pledged their time to “lean in,” in a way Sheryl Sandberg may not have fully envisioned but I believe would whole heartedly approve of.

The resulting campaign, #LeanInTogether, is an example of the type of inclusive behavior necessary to effect change. Just as diversity and inclusion needs active white male support to advance its strategic agenda on multiple fronts, women need male advocates and policy changers to advance and to mitigate gender issues.

Here are a few examples of why some men choose to lean in:

Raphael G., owner, NYC-based clothing boutique said:

“Women are just as capable as men, in contributing and advancing the type of work they’re involved in. They might have different experience and skills than men do, but they’re just as dedicated and hard-working as men, if not more because we’ve made it so impossibly hard for them to ‘prove themselves.’”

Raphael, you better preach.

Or how about this one?

#LeanInTogether Matthew H.

Matthew, H, please talk that talk to me — and to everyone else.

Carson S., a business student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Lean In Circles member said: “I’ve realized when women take on a leadership position, they’re often seen as b*tchy or bossy. Guys, on the other hand, are seen as ambitious and respected. It doesn’t add up.”

That’s the first step in recovery, right? To recognize and accept that there’s a problem.

This next one might be one of my favorites from the article:

#LeanInTogether Ryan C.


I don’t entirely agree with Ryan. I know he’s referring to male stubbornness, but I think a stubborn refusal to accept the status quo is what got women this far. And we’ll to maintain that same stick-to-it-iveness if we’re to get to the next level.

I believe in the #LeanInTogether campaign. It and more campaigns like it — starring men — are necessary if lasting, systemic change is to occur for women.