Tina Brown, who edited some of the world’s top magazines and now runs Newsweek/Daily Beast Co., said author Sheryl Sandberg’s call for women to “lean in” to get decision-making power is too narrowly focused on the workplace.
The phrase should have been “lean on,” to capture a broader view of the key issues facing women as they seek to improve their standing, said Brown, whose resume includes leading Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk. A lack of ownership is one such challenge, she said.
“We talk too much about the fight for the corner office,” she told Bloomberg Television's Stephanie Ruhle in advance of her Women in the World Summit taking place later this week. “We don’t focus on the real needs and wants out there that women don’t own as much as men.
‘‘It’s about ‘leaning on’ more than ‘leaning in’ the powers that be to make sure that real changes get made.”
It was a twist on Sandberg’s highly publicized book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” a personal account of her corporate rise to become chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., doubling as a contemporary feminine manifesto.
“Just basic rights are overlooked,” Brown said, referring to women in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan where women don’t have access to credit, can’t own anything and have to fight for the right to go to school.
Brown said the focus of the Women in the World conference, which she started with fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg in 2010, was to look at women who “live behind the headlines.”
The event features an lineup of notably powerful women, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and U.S. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, as well as actresses Meryl Streep and Eva Longoria.
In addition to Newsweek/Daily Beast, which is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, the conference is supported by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.