In a typically provocative and mischievous fashion, I recently joked that I was thinking about getting a sex change. (click to tweet)
Not because I want to be a woman (although I would probably sign up for a temporary experiment) but because I think we’re on the cusp of a shift from a masculine world to a more feminine world.
Women are traditionally the carers, the collaborators, the peacemakers, the givers, the communicators. Such feminine skills and qualities are precisely the strengths we all need today to face the global challenges of the future: the environment, globalization, preventative and ongoing health care, and feeding an increasing population.
Let me be very clear. This is not a post about men vs women. This is a post about how the world is relating to masculine and feminine traits. We all have masculine and feminine traits.
Women generally tend to have more feminine traits than men – and men, more masculine, but we’re all a mixture, to a greater or lesser extent.
Whether we like it or not, it’s been a paternalistic world where men have had a competitive advantage for a long time. That doesn’t mean that women can’t succeed – it just means that it has been harder for them. The figures around pay, inequality, politicians and senior management positions speak for themselves – and it is not surprising.
The world to date has been designed by men. And not necessarily by good men, either. So the cards are stacked in the favour of so called ‘masculine’ behaviour. We have a plethora of big, masculine, cumbersome hierarchical structures based on power, competition, winning, and aggression.
Think about it. Your typical organisational hierarchy rigidly expects you to turn up to a physical location, and work 9 – 5 for five days a week. Getting promoted up the ranks involves a degree of selfish cut-throat ambition. The greater the role or task, the more levels of management are required where more ‘playing the game’ to masculine rules is required, for rapid growth, sharp financial goals, and all things short term. It is about top down diktats and control.
I take my hat off to anyone with allegedly ‘feminine’ traits like caring, co-operation or a ‘family first’ approach who succeeds in a system like that. I really do.
Luckily the internet is changing all this. With each new platform, it is allowing us to organise ourselves in a different way. Whilst individuals can achieve more by themselves, small groups collaborating with each other in a virtual sense can achieve massively more every day.
We just don’t need hierarchies, big businesses or governments to change the world any more. We can do it ourselves, from a laptop at home, in our own time, with our families and friends around us.
We can finally maximise our collective talent. It doesn’t need to be a compromise or optional any more.
Even Warren Buffet, the 82-year-old billionaire investor, predicts this too. The United States would survive recession and the economy would thrive because women’s talents were finally being utilised.
“Fifty per cent of the talent… we’ve pushed off in the corner for almost 200 years,” he said. ”I see how far we’ve come using only half the talent… and now we’re getting to the point that we are using 100%. It makes me optimistic, but we still have a way to go”.
I often laugh at big companies’ arguments about wanting more diversity in the boardroom today. If only they meant diversity of thought rather than diversity of gender! It isn’t just more women in the boardroom that we want. We need a new system and infrastructure. The recruitment or development policies aren’t the problem. Maintaining big pyramids of machismo is the problem. It’s the whole system that’s the issue.
Successful organisations realise this, and are now smashing down hierarchies to become more virtual and collaborative, less controlling and much more people-focussed. They are also becoming much more transparent, and aim for societal goals rather than financial ones. They are little by little becoming more and more ‘feminine’. And to be honest, that is what all organisations need to do to survive.
My provocation, and my experience, is that those with these so-called ‘feminine’ traits are far better equipped to move forward in this new age. And I, for one, think this is a good thing. I am looking forward to enjoying a nicer planet that will last much longer.
I will probably pass on the sex change, but I am working on improving my feminine traits. That way there may still be a use for me in the future.
Why I Think Women Will Rule The World
I can’t wait to hear about what you think about this post. Do you see it this way? What are your experiences today? What are your views on the future? Please ‘Speak Your Mind’ in the comments section below.