I've had numerous conversations about Lean In and Sheryl Sandberg's decision to focus more on what women can do to get ahead. My personal opinion is that she took the easy way out in choosing this approach. Sandberg is an incredibly powerful woman with powerful friends and a powerful microphone. People listen to her. She is, quite literally, a phone call away (maybe two) from any CEO or leader in the country. If any woman has the power to become a major catalyst for actual change in the workplace and beyond, it's her.
Instead of issuing public challenges to business leaders everywhere to reassess their work environment to determine whether or not they are taking full advantage of their female talent pool, Sandberg tells the female employees to do more work. Women aren't getting paid for the work they do now. Instead of tackling more substantive issues, she just launched a campaign to "ban bossy," and she got a former United States Secretary of State and the CEO of the Girl Scouts to launch it with her.
This is where Erica Payne comes in. She thinks that Sandberg should be devoting at least some of her time to little things like raising the national minimum wage. I have to agree. I'm not minimizing Sandberg's current work because I truly do believe it is important and worthwhile, but I also think that she is wasting a valuable opportunity to affect changes in social policy that will help millions of women in the long run.
Should we "ban bossy"? Perhaps. Should we do whatever is within our power to ensure that millions and millions of women can feed, clothe, and educate themselves and their children? Absolutely. There's no reason Sandberg can't do both.