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Clayman Institute partners with Lean In to combat gender inequality

Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research has been named the “founding educational partner” of Lean In, a new nonprofit championed by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that aims to create a global support system committed to encouraging women to pursue and fulfill their ambitions.

Lean In seeks to encourage the creation of “Lean In Circles,” small groups offering the opportunity to discuss workplace issues like gender bias. The “Voice & Influence” curriculum offered by the Clayman Institute provides the basis for those circles, expanding from its origins as a local on-campus program restricted to a limited group of Stanford and Silicon Valley faculty and professionals. Gina Bianchini, Lean In’s cofounder, introduced Sandberg to the program.

As a result of the partnership, the five “Voice & Influence” videos are now available to the public for free at LeanIn.org. Current videos, which are approximately 25 minutes long and come accompanied by discussion guides and curricula, deal with negotiation, acting with power, working in teams, telling stories and removing bias from the workplace.

According to Shelley Correll M.A. ’96 Ph.D. ’01, director of the Clayman Institute, the videos have been “very successful.” As a conservative assessment, Correll estimated that the videos have been viewed over 20,000 times, making the collaboration with Lean In “the biggest we’ve done, for sure.”

Lily Clausen M.A. ’10, the Clayman Institute’s media manager, described the Institute’s involvement with Lean In as “a very natural relationship,” since both entities are committed to “empowering men and women to be their best.”

From the Institute’s perspective, the partnership with Lean In brings a large and engaged audience to the table, as well as the technical experience to make content available online.

“Lean In is becoming a household name,” Correll said. “It opened the door to a conversation we’re always trying to have. Secondly, being able to rely on their expertise has been very helpful — they know how to do things on a big scale.”

Lean In, meanwhile, benefits from the association with high-quality educational content.

“What they wanted is for groups of women and men to have discussions and be able to support each other — but you have to interact over something… and we have some really good and credible content,” Correll emphasized.

That content incorporates abbreviated versions of longer talks, tailored to increase relevancy and inspire watchers to apply lessons learned and take action. Lori Mackenzie, associate director at the Clayman Institute, described the videos in an email to The Daily as unique because they focus “on stories and shared experiences, not only on the technology behind the educational experience.”

Looking toward the future, Mackenzie cited the Institute’s plans to generate further content focused both on empowering women in the workplace and enabling managers to create a better workplace.

“As a next step, we hope to customize the experience even more based on where a person is in her career or how managers can help create level playing fields,” she wrote.