Intelligent Working Women Leaning Back

Maybe the Answer is for Men to Lean Out

Amber Johnson Care for people, Leadership, Trends

Lean In: Are Intelligent Working Women Leaning Back?

See the full version of this graphic below.

As a working mom, I rarely pick up my ringing phone without a sense of trepidation. Will it be my son’s school, calling once again to say he is sick and in need of a midday pick up before he infects the rest of his kindergarten class?

My husband and I have grown adept at making emergency plans via text message while both in meetings. And while we share the childcare needs equally, the call from the school always comes to my phone.

A new infographic from asks, Why are Intelligent Women Leaning Back? The question is a clear reference to the uber-popular book, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. The graphic, see below for the full version, contains statistics that show women with MBAs are more likely to work part-time. This holds especially true for women holding MBAs from elite programs. Married MBA moms with bachelor degrees from top tier universities are 30 percent less likely to work full-time than their “non-elite” counterparts.

Why are intelligent women leaning back? Maybe because their equally intelligent male partners are leaning in. As we rally around Sandberg’s call for more female leadership, for a final push to achieve equality so “in the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders,” maybe we need to establish more opportunities for men to lean out.

According to the Census Bureau, 3.5 percent of stay at home parents are fathers. In an interview with NPR, Stephanie Coontz, of the Council on Contemporary Families, said this number vastly under-reports the many part-time at-home fathers who do some work yet are their children’s primary caregivers. In an unscientific review of my own childhood, I can think of no friends who would have said their father was their primary caregiver. But thinking through my children’s friends, there a handful of fathers who work part-time, or not at all, in order to provide at-home care for their children.

In my own case, my husband’s willingness to lean out a little – to rearrange his schedule to cover a sick day, or to take time away from work to call prospective day care programs – makes it more possible for me to lean in. And this year, when I fill out the school’s emergency contact information, I may list his name and number first. These systems don’t change without our effort. I’m leaning into that.

Lean In: Are Intelligent Working Women Leaning Back?
Courtesy of:

Amber Johnson is a wife and mother of two, and the CVDL’s corporate relations advisor. She writes about work-life alignment, and other non-business topics, on her blog,

Previous ArticleNext Article