The moments in the careers of women at Airbnb, Pinterest, Facebook, and more that changed everything.
What we see of others’ lives are highlight reels.
From a distance, the road to working for a headline-making tech company looks smooth and simple: Start at the bottom, work hard, make the right connections and boom, you’ve made it.
But for these six women, working for companies that impact our daily lives means making more than a decent salary and having fun doing it. There were moments in each of their lives that changed everything. We asked when they knew they wanted to get into tech—and when that career choice clicked for them.
The answer to getting more done and leading a balanced life isn’t in beating yourself up about ambitions.
We’ve entered a new paradigm. One in which women, particularly in the West, have greater opportunity than ever before and yet are feeling stressed out, anxious, and exhausted trying to cope with the pressure to succeed in all areas of life. Despite external success, many women have a feeling of not measuring up or being good enough. Other women are leaning in so strongly that they are burning out. It’s a catch-22: how do we lean in without burning out?
Research shows bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, and they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves—women who will prematurely conclude that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena and give up way too soon.
Our experience is that women blame themselves. Therefore, many women are reading Lean In and thinking “Oh, I guess I wasn’t leaning in hard enough, I need to push myself even more.”
Here are the tenets for how to lean in without burning out:
The Women’s Campaign School at Yale is training more women to run for office—and win.
The numbers aren’t pretty.
According to the National Women’s Political Caucus, of the 535 seats in the 113th U.S. Congress, just 18.5%—or 99 members—are women. In 2013, just 24.1%,of the 7,383 state legislators in the United States were women.
But a New Haven, Conn. nonprofit is doing its best to change that. The Women’s Campaign School at Yale isn’t officially a part of the storied university, but its alumna are similarly distinguished. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) have completed the rigorous, hands-on campaign training that is designed to teach women how to run a successful political campaign.
Forget Barbie. Why not have young girls play with Marie Curie?
Starting with a doll modeled after Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, the line will feature strong female role models from history, along with an accompanying app that has new content for each doll. “It’s not just about getting girls excited about engineering. It’s important to show girls all the opportunities available to them,” says Hobbs.
But how do you separate the distractions from truly valuable advice? These five women in the tech and business industries made their own ways, but sifted through their share of unsolicited chaff in the process.
“Testosterone can help traders take risks and move fast, making loads of money in the meantime,” LouAnn Lofton writes in her book. “But too much testosterone for too long can encourage too much risk taking. … The way women tend to approach investing is healthier and calmer, and it’s the way we should all approach investing.”
“A new poll from Gallup shows that 63% of Americans say the country would be better governed with more female political leaders, which is up slightly from 57% in past polls in 1995 and 2000. But not everyone feels this way: While 78% of liberals as well as 78% of unmarried women think we need more female political leaders, only 46% of Republicans feel that having more women in office would result in better government, and almost one in five (19%) feel it would be worse.”
So, with the help of Elizabeth Plank, a senior editor at Mic(micdotcom), we’re changing the tone to check in with women who are doing us all proud. In the spirit of Lauren Conrad’s epic response to the question, “What’s your favorite position?” (spoiler alert: it’s CEO), Plank compiled a list of 23 women responding to that same question, and their answers.