Sheryl Sandberg and the NBA are getting men and women to ‘Lean In Together’

Sheryl sandberg
Facebook COO and Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg. Paul Morigi/Getty

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is getting her women’s empowerment organisation Lean In to target men this year, and she’s got the NBA and ESPN on her side.

Sandberg launched Lean In alongside the bestselling book of the same name in 2013. This year’s “Lean In Together” initiative is the follow-up to last year’s “Ban Bossy” campaign, and starting on March 5, ESPN will run PSAs that feature NBA and WNBA stars like LeBron James and Skylar Diggins. ESPN’s demographic is about 75% male, according to New York Interconnect.

Lean In Together’s website offers tips on how men can work toward gender equality at both the home and office, as dads and managers.

In an interview with Yahoo News, Sandberg explains why the campaign is focused on clarifying that empowering women is not just good for women, but good for men, too:

Men should want this for themselves. There is data out there that if women entered the workforce in the same percentages as men, our GDP would grow by 5 per cent. That’s good for everyone, women and men. There’s also data that shows that men who work well with women outperform their peers, whether they are the most entry-level position all the way up to the CEO. That’s good for women and men. In the home, men who do 50 per cent of the chores have stronger marriages, stronger relationships, more sex. That is certainly good for everyone…

We are still saying this is right and fair. But we’ve been saying that for a long time and haven’t really gotten anywhere. In the past 11 years, the wage gap only closed by one penny, and that was only for white women. Women have stayed at 5 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO jobs for years and years. Of course equality is “right” and “fair,” and we will continue saying that, but if we can also teach men that this is good for them and that moves the needle, I’m for it.

Sandberg is also dedicated to making parental leave programs and hands-on parenting a source of pride for men rather than derision.

“Once men start to lean in in the home, once these changes at work become as important to men as to women because they both need change to be the parents they want to be, think of how that can drive change,” Sandberg tells Yahoo.

You can find the first NBA/WNBA ad below:

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