(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 02 Oct 2005)
This week the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security announced the re-launching of its quarterly magazine, “Woman Powah.” In light of the many vile headlines that blazed in front of our eyes this week detailing a woman dying because of a botched abortion, a woman being abducted on her way to work, 110 rapes in this year so far and little girls being sold by their families to disgusting old men – this is one headline that offers a bit of hope for the women of Guyana.
According to a Kaieteur News article from last Friday, Minister Bibi Shadick, “stated that ‘Woman Powah' has a role to play in keeping women informed, and by so doing creating that awareness which is required for moving Guyana towards its goal of gender equity.”
Bravo Bibi!! Bravo!!! I think you just might be my favorite person in the entire PPP government. In a time when gender equality is still on shaky grounds in even the most progressive countries, Guyana’s government is taking significant measures to dispel notions of inequity. Now this is one policy I can support 100 percent.
Caveman ideology, or misogyny – as they call it in modern language, is slowly being weeded out of civilized society since women are now “allowed” to get an education, work outside of the house and leave abusive or unfaithful husbands with compensation for their contributions to his success in life. We’ve come a long way baby! This is where we raise our wine glasses for a toast – clink!
Really now girls, isn’t it about time? Can you believe there was a time when men actually thought they were smarter than us? Please! That would mean that I wouldn’t have the intellectual capacity to hold my own with the likes of Freddie Kissoon – and we all know the rest of that story.
Further, when it comes to having a drive to succeed, we are on par with our male counterparts. In fact, in almost any university opened to both genders, female enrollment usually surpasses male enrollment. Once we have attained a good education, we go on to greatness.
Women are now lawyers, doctors, judges, businesswomen, reporters, editors, etc. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a profession where women have not penetrated. However, studies do show that women embrace a completely different style of leadership than men. Women tend to be more inclusive. They don’t step on others on their way up the ladder; because they choose lay the ladder down flat so everyone is working together.
This is the way women have always conducted their business. In fact, did you know there are archeological records that give credence to the notion that women were the first farmers? Or that it is highly probably that a woman created the first written language? Thousands of years before the start of the current patriarchal system, a design that confers sole leadership to the male, women served as judges and magistrates of the court and even as the leaders of their communities.
Once the patriarchal system was accepted as the norm in society, the benefits of female leadership were lost and women were confined to their homes in ignorance. Think of where the human race could be today if women and men were historically accepted as equals. Some say humans only use half of their brain. To further impede the growth of the human intellect the women and their extraordinary brains were hidden away for thousands of years.
The result was a species at a severe disadvantage to function to its full capacity and a world incessantly plagued by war. I bet two women could have sat down together and halted almost every war in history. Think of all of the lives that could have been saved! Women solve their issues through relationship development. We choose to talk and nurture those around us instead of the more violent means of problem solving.
This is same leadership style we mastered from inside the home within the framework of the family unit and the human race has thrived because of it. This is also the leadership style now being implemented into many companies – making the corporate ladder obsolete.
Societal changes such as industrialization and commercialization have reorganized the social structure in such a way that feminine leadership is now just as essential in the workplace as it is in the home. In fact, a New York Times columnist, John Tierney, recently said the old leadership structure simply doesn’t work anymore and he cites a study showing “large companies yield better returns to stockholders if they have more women in senior management.”
He also mentioned a businessman he knows who buys companies. He said the first thing this businessman considers is the gender of the boss since companies run by women are more likely to survive due to their capability to "create a healthy culture within the company.”
Corporate leadership structures are increasingly starting to resemble the feminine approach of the inclusive web or circle because it favours direct communication with several points of contact. I read a book recently called, “Woman’s Place.” It said in today’s technologically driven world, this type of leadership makes perfect sense. “The image recalls that of the microchip – making quick connections, breaking information into bits, processing, rearranging units: energy moving in pulses rather than being forced to run up and down in channels.”
Such a model is obviously more suited to the information age than the hierarchical structure, which found its most widespread application in the industrial era. Women understand that leadership is about more than money or being on the top. It is about the larger picture of creating an environment that promotes a sense of group accomplishment and connectivity. This method shuns individualism for the greater good of the whole, which in the corporate world means the company.
When I see a company that still doesn’t have a woman in its senior management position, it sends up a red flag for me. If a company is thinking long-term and is strategically planning for the future, then a feminine approach to leadership can increase the chances of reaching of those goals.
The winds of change are blowing once again and the astute male business owner will acknowledge the changing of seasons in the next phase of human development and find a woman to help lead his company as soon as possible.
As for me, my wine glass is empty and my bubble bath and a good book are calling me. I do have one last bit of advice for the ladies though – girls, never stop reading; knowledge is power.