What Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ Has Meant to Women

Last month, when a draft ruling revealed the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, Ms. Sandberg put out a statement mourning the loss of women’s abortion access.

“This is a scary day for women all across our country,” Ms. Sandberg wrote on Facebook. “Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother.”

To some women, the post was another sign that Ms. Sandberg’s personal philosophy would have limited impact, and that a focus on broader scale policy change was more urgently needed. There was no statement of support for abortion access from Ms. Sandberg’s company. In fact, weeks later, a recording obtained by The Verge revealed that a Meta executive had told employees not to talk about abortion on the company’s internal platform, called Workplace, because of the topic’s divisive nature. Meta did not respond to a request for comment.

For a decade, Ms. Sandberg’s approach to gender in the workplace influenced both her proponents and critics.

Ms. Harts, the workplace consultant, was galvanized by Ms. Sandberg’s writing. She decided to create a playbook for women like herself who didn’t see themselves in “Lean In.” Seven years ago Ms. Harts founded The Memo, a career development organization supporting women of color. Since then she has received an outpouring of emails, including from Black women working at Meta, thanking her for advice that felt more relevant to their lives.

“The idea that you could work the hardest and get ahead is not always the same for women of color,” Ms. Harts said.

And now, even Ms. Sandberg is hitting pause. In a Facebook post on Wednesday announcing her resignation, she said her next period would include getting married this summer and a focus on her children, philanthropy and other pursuits that perhaps aren’t as carefully charted as the previous chapters of her career.

“I am not entirely sure what the future will bring,” she wrote. “I have learned no one ever is.”

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