Of course I was happy to see a well-written retort to Sandberg's "Lean In" appear in The Washington Post. Advising women to "Recline," the author upholds the value of things I also find valuable: reading a novel, having a real conversation, making intentional choices to spend more time on fewer things. The sense that everything is always frantic, the list of things to do that only ever seems to get longer (and that, I find, runs like a memory-sucking app in the back of my mind, draining my battery but accomplishing nothing) -- these are bad enough. It's worse that women get pressured (lured? suckered?) into taking on the particular, gendered obligation to manage everything on all fronts all the time, to be distracted and worried so others can relax and focus, to skimp on sleep and exercise so others can be well, never to be the one sitting on the couch truly unconcerned with what "the plan is for dinner."Read More
There have been a spate of new books lately advising women how to turn inward, change their behavior, and remake themselves to be more successful and ‘leap over’ gender barriers in the workplace. If a woman is not paid what she is worth, passed over for promotion, or even harassed, the solution, it seems, is to lean in – because eventually (soon, in fact) everyone will realize that women really should rule the world. The latest is a book by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, The Confidence Code, in which the authors argue that the primary barrier to women’s success is not sexism but rather women’s own lack of confidence. And in one way, they are right. Confidence is gendered. Women are less confident than men (and men tend to be over- confident relative to their abilities). Of course confidence matters. But trying to solve a problem of structural sexism with a good night’s sleep, a self-help book, and a smile is a losing proposition.Read More
The most recent Economist has, as usual, a helpful chart summarizing Americans’ attitudes towards same-sex marriage, using Pew Center data from 2008 on. The data show that, for the first time, a majority of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, with the most significant movement (towards more favorable attitudes) occurring among White Catholics and White “mainstream” Protestants.Read More
What is the relationship between rates of church attendance and national identity? When more than 50 percent of a country’s population does not attend religious services, is that the tipping point that makes for a secular nation?
The Economist just published a very short notice reporting on an analysis of the European Social Survey from 2008 and 2009. It’s not terribly surprising. In many of the countries surveyed, well over 40 percent of respondents say they “never” attend religious services except for special events (like weddings); in most, the figure is well over 30 percent.Read More