Women are told to lean in, but having the time to lean back might be the true test of equality and success.
It’s well documented that women still aren’t earning as much as men—less than three quarters of the salary for the same work in many industries—but the gender wage gap isn’t the only issue. There’s another disparity quietly gaining traction: The gender leisure gap.
Some blame Sheryl Sandberg’s "Lean-in" phenomenon, in which women have been urged to do more, take on more, lean in to more and more opportunities in order to advance. Lean-in critics like Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks say it’s a mentality that breeds burnout.
"When a workplace is full of employees who always lean in and never lean back, it’s full of employees who are exhausted, brittle, and incapable of showing much creativity or making good decisions," she writes in Foreign Policy. “There is, after all, much to be said for leaning out—for long lunches, afternoon naps, good books, and some nice, slow hours in the La-Z-Boy.”