In my previous blog about the book “Lean In” written by Sheryl Sandberg, I discussed my thoughts as I read the book as a career woman. However as you know, I believe the book provides guidance on different aspects of a woman’s life. For Part 3 of this blog post, I read the book as a mother.
Who would have ever thought that a book found in the business section of the bookstore would cause me to examine how my husband and I raise our daughters? Sandberg shares insightful stories about how the leadership gap between men and women begins when girls are young; this had me reflecting on the way I parent. Actually even reading stories about how Sandberg herself was raised was highly instructive to me as a parent.
In talking about the effects of parenting on young girls, Sandberg has definitely done her homework! She is not selling herself as an expert in the field. Instead she relies on reputable studies and research to explain how the leadership gap begins.
After reading this book, I walked away with a belief that parents of young girls need to guard against instilling gender stereotypes, even unintentionally. The results she recounts are haunting : from young girls that lack ambition for leadership positions to cultural messages that unwittingly teach society that these stereotypes are acceptable. Doubting the abilities of our daughters, teaching them to be quiet and ‘nice’, and discouraging behavior that could be perceived as ‘bossy’ or ‘aggressive’ are all actions that pave the road to gender inequality.
Another excellent point raised in the book is the importance of paternal involvement. It has been proven by study after study that fathers have a positive impact on the mental, social and academic well being of a child.
I especially enjoyed reading stories about how Sandberg and her siblings were raised. Of course these stories add a wonderful personal touch not usually found in business books. More than that though, I found them instructive. Let me provide an example that particularly moved me. In one story, Sandberg recounts a disagreement she had with her sister over a lollipop. Despite raising very good arguments on why she should get the last lollipop, Sandberg’s mother made her and her sister reflect on how the other feels; the lollipop was forgotten in lieu of listening and empathy. Whether you are raising a daughter or a son, I think this is a fantastic parenting tip which I now practice on my own children.
Sandberg also explores an issue I myself have at times grappled with : what message am I sending to my daughters when I try ‘to have it all’? After all, our children deserve to know they have choices and will be supported regardless of the decisions they make as individuals, not as a male or as a female. There is an uncertain possibility that I am teaching my daughters an unvoiced lesson as I struggle to maintain balance of having a career and having children. But I digress into a topic likely best discussed in the next blog post.
E-reader’s Opinion: Parents, teachers and caregivers of both young boys and girls can learn something from this book. Sandberg takes some of the top research into parenting and presents it concisely and succinctly. What can you do to raise your daughters to be leaders? What can you do to raise your sons to respect women leaders? What can we do to raise a generation where students, employees, and parents are judged only by their individual skills and not by gender biases? The book is worth a read by anyone caring for young children.
Your E-reader reviewer is Hetal Kushwaha, Liaison – International Practice, Marks & Clerk Canada. She would like to emphasize that this is just her personal opinion and it is not intended to represent the views of Marks & Clerk Canada. She can be reached at
Dear Committee Members,
AIPLA’s Women in IP Law Committee is working with AIPLA to increase participation by our members in the AIPLA educational programs as speakers and moderators at stated meetings, webinars, and other events. Whether you spoke or moderated in the past or this is something that you have only considered, you know that speaking at an AIPLA event is the perfect opportunity to share your expertise with your fellow AIPLA members while creating visibility for your firm or company and really maximizing the networking that AIPLA provides. Our members have vast expertise and knowledge on a variety of IP law topics ready to be shared. To provide you with an opportunity to be considered as a potential speaker or a moderator and to help the program coordinators to find the right speakers and moderators, we are building a database of our members who are interested in speaking and/or moderating opportunities, including their expertise and topics of preferences. This way, when the right opportunity comes along, you will be considered as a potential speaker or moderator.
If you are interested in speaking at an AIPLA event, whether at a live meeting or an educational webinar, and to be included into our database, please fill out the survey provided in the link below and you will be contacted to work out the details. The database information will only be used for the stated purpose of finding speakers and moderators for the AIPLA events, and will not be shared otherwise.
If you have any questions, contact Jessica Ergmann at Jessica.Ergmann@draeger.com.
Thank you in advance for your participation!
Women in IP Committee
Please see the video above that was shown during the 2014 AIPLA Women in IP Law Networking Event.
The Women in IP group in Rome, Italy, participated in the Race for the Cure! Please see the video above.
CAREER & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SERIES: Becoming an Active AIPLA Member: Why, When, and How?
Join us for a FREE Webinar on April 17
The speakers will be:
Alyson G. Barker
Title: Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Company: The Wet Seal, Inc.
William R. Childs
Company: Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP
Elise J. Selinger
Company: Conley Rose, P.C.
Lynn C. Tyler
Title: Partner, Intellectual Property Department
Company: Barnes & Thornburg LLP
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Presented by the LAW STUDENTS COMMITTEE
Thinking about joining AIPLA? Are you a current member who wants to explore what AIPLA offers to a greater extent and become more active within the association, but do not know how to go about it or where to start? As part of the AIPLA’s Career & Practice Management Series, the Law Students Committee invites you to join a webinar that will address the range of opportunities AIPLA provides to law students and young and rising lawyers and how opening yourself to such opportunities may help you to advance and develop your career. Our distinguished speakers will draw upon their personal experiences to provide you with tips and sage advice on finding opportunities within AIPLA that suit you best, what to do when you volunteer, and maximizing the benefits of your AIPLA membership and involvement within the association.
Title: CAREER & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SERIES: Becoming an Active AIPLA Member: Why, When, and How?
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Time: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
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For those of you who don’t know, I am Canadian. In keeping with the generally-accepted stereotype of Canada, hockey is a pretty popular sport in this country. During the Sochi games, Canucks of all ages watched the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team win the gold medal in, arguably, one of the most exciting hockey games in Canadian history.
Why do I bring this up? Well, my daughters’ school allowed the children to watch the hockey game during school hours (THIS is how important hockey is to us). My 9 year old came home that day, very excited about the win, and exclaimed “The boys at school say that if the women can win gold, the men will definitely win gold when they play”.
Now don’t get me wrong. My national pride wanted the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team to bring home the gold too. But at that moment, my feminist pride shot up to stark attention. How do these young children learn these gender biases? What does my daughter feel when she hears things like that? And why on earth was this bothering me so much? It bothered me because of Sheryl Sandberg, author of “Lean In – Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”.
I’ve read a lot of books that provide practical guidance for women who strive to reach the top. But in my opinion, this book isn’t like the others. Sure, on a very basic level, Sandberg stokes feminist fire to urge women to lean into their career and reach for the top. She shares her personal failures and successes, and even provides a few applicable tips. But this book is so much more than a how-to guide. This book is like an onion with multiple layers that need to be peeled apart. In her book, she probes through the mess and gets to the heart of why, she believes, there are not enough women leaders – the role society plays, the role the current leadership landscape plays, and the role we ourselves play.
Everyone who has read this book has an opinion about Sandberg’s position. The funny thing is I find myself having two opinions on this book. When I read this book as a career woman, I come away with one viewpoint. When I read this book as a mother, I come away with a second viewpoint. And note that these two viewpoints are not necessarily disparate or contradictory – they are just two separate viewpoints.
If you’ll indulge me, I would like to try something different. I am going to provide three reviews of this book. The first will be my opinion of the book as a career woman. The second will be my opinion of the book as a mother. With the third review, I am going to look at the book from the perspective of a mother who loves her children AND her career.
E-reader’s Opinion: Stay tuned! My E-Reader take-away is forthcoming.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t know: the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team also won gold…but not because they are men.
Your E-reader reviewer is Hetal Kushwaha, Liaison – International Practice, Marks & Clerk Canada. She would like to emphasize that this is just her personal opinion and it is not intended to represent the views of Marks & Clerk, Canada. She can be reached at