Chairman Sandberg's Great Lean Forward isn't about advancing women, it's about advancing the right women—those who want to advance corporate America in turn. Maybe this is why the ostensibly feminist foundation chose to highlight Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen?
Ros-Lehtinen, who gave the Spanish language GOP rebuttal to last week's State of the Union address, is quoted and lauded on the official Lean In Tumbr:
Ros-Lehtinen entered the race for the Florida House of Representatives in 1982. "There were about 13 or 14 candidates for the spot and I told them all, 'I'm going to run and I'm going to win, because you will not out-work me," she said. She won — and won again in her race for the Florida Senate in 1986. She was the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body.
"To think that a Cuban refugee could come to the United States not knowing a word of English and is now a member of Congress…is this a great country or what?"
And, hey, it's an inspiring story. But as The New Republic points out, it's not the kind of story you'd expect to get a Sheryl Sandberg cosign:
The problem is that in elected office Ros-Lehtinen has consistently opposed women's rights.
She voted for the deceptively titled Working Families Flexibility Act, which opponents—including nearly all House Democrats, President Obama, unions, and worker advocacy groups—believe would enable employers to cheapen federal overtime requirements and to encourage employees to spend more time at home rather than earning more money at work.
Most starkly, she voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which gave women the practical ability to sue over alleged equal-pay violations.
This is puzzling. What could Lean In be getting out of boosting Ros-Lehtinen, who voted against equal pay protection for women? Coincidentally, the congresswoman has been a strong proponent of the exact same strain of immigration reform favored by Sandberg's friend and coworker Mark Zuckerberg, his FWD.us pet project, and other powerful Silicon Valley interests: she's voted twice for the STEM Jobs Act of 2012. Ros-Lehtinen is useful to Sandberg and company. It's also smart for Sandberg to make nice with both sides of the aisle ahead of her inevitable career change—maybe one of the little things she learned from her boss.