Leadership: What is it?
What is a leader? We can clearly see that placing a person in a position of ‘power’ does not make them a leader. We often use that term, but are they leading? A person cannot lead if someone is not following. True leaders are really people who have a vision, or idea, or way of doing things that others feel makes sense to them, are intrigued by and naturally want to follow.
Leading by example is the most common and comfortable form of leadership. A leader lives their life, speaking their point of view, sharing their creativity, their vision and invites others into the dialogue. A person who has a vision and keeps it to them self, does not lead anyone else. We follow people’s example when we like what we hear, the way they conduct themselves, and the manner in which they interact with others. Sometimes we will follow a warrior into battle because we feel confident in their mission. For more on this subject please go to Leadership for Today.
Can Women Lead and Do We Want Them To? Exploring this Issue: (October 2009)
Women are Leading Now
Women are leading in many areas of our lives today. We are the major influence on what products are purchased in the home. We decide what foods our families eat. We have a strong influence on what our families wear, where we holiday, and what religion we choose. We determine our family’s healthcare choices, nutrition and prevention concepts. We lead at the present time in the background of society. We lead whether we recognize it or not. But if we are deciding on a better future for the planet, and ourselves we are going to have to take a more enlightened and assertive role in our leadership. In every aspect of human life there are male and female influences, unless one is deliberately disregarded. We share a planet, a nation, a community, and homes. It takes both male and female to reproduce and ensure the survival of human beings. Creation is a two-part process, a balance of feminine and masculine energy, which results in an entirely new being. Man plants the seed and after that act, it is the woman who must participate otherwise there is no ‘growth’ or if her participation is reluctant or resentful, the result will not be an optimum birth. In the birthing process it is the female influence that has the most impact on the final result.
When we speak of creating something new, something better, something we desire, we talk about giving birth to the idea, or dream. Something new is not created with old thinking. Something new and better requires new ways of doing things, new ideas, but also new methods. There are significant parallels between birthing an idea and birthing a child. There is a gestation period, a time to consider the idea, and then allow it to grow and be nurtured within. Sometimes the birthing process gets messy, frustrating, confusing and stressful. Giving birth in a war zone, will take a certain amount of consideration and there will be many risks. Just the same many will try and hope it will all work out for the best. Giving birth in a comfortable safe zone, takes a different kind of understanding and planning. A child born in a safe loving environment is going to have a far higher chance at thriving and succeeding in life. When it comes time for the labour, the work belongs to the woman, but the role of the male cannot be ignored. The male partner who supports the woman through the labour process is not only providing the comfort, the basic needs and soothing words to the woman; he is also providing this to the new life.
Conversely, the male partner who is telling the woman to hurry up, to get it done, to move it along as quickly as possible, telling her not to complain, not to scream out in her labour pains, telling her she is creating more responsibility for him and that he resents her for bringing forward this new life, is not going to assist in a positive outcome. Further she is not going to be able to nurture the life within, while she is not nurtured on the outside.
So while each of us has a masculine and feminine aspect, we each bring forward one side more than the other at different times in our lives, depending on the situation. Men or women can be warriors or nurturers, lovers or fighters, but the present environment running our society is a masculine warrior attitude, which doesn’t foster the nurturing aspects very well. When women deny their feminine aspect because it isn’t accepted, or isn’t listened to, or doesn’t fit with the program, they tend to be ineffective. When men build societies and systems that exclude women and women’s voices, they create a vacuum where only the fight mentality is accepted. Women can enter but only if they behave in that same masculine mold. This is not an effective way to plan a home, community, nation or world. It is out of balance. Today we have a world that is out of balance.
When we speak of creating a new and better world, we are talking about birthing the dream; many of us have had for a very long time. When we are thinking of a world without war, or hunger or poverty we are talking about birthing a big healthy baby. We are talking about birthing a child filled with hope, knowing they are supported, they are nurtured and they are free. When we talk about that kind of world, we cannot birth it without the feminine. It cannot be done.
It is not about blaming men for the mess in the world today. Rather it is about choosing differently in this process of creating something new. We don’t ask men to give birth to our children, because it cannot be done. They are the partners, the supporters, the protectors and providers, they have a contribution, but they are not the only contributor. At this point, they are attempting to be both the male and the female in our world. That’s why it isn’t working. The pattern has been to tell women what they need; telling them that what is provided is what they must accept. Women are not given their true role. Many women have stepped into ‘the man’s world’ in politics, or big corporations and have had great success, however many will say that they had to become, ‘like a man’ to do it.
We have a system, which uses very masculine language, and at times very violent policies. We know it isn’t working; the evidence is all around us. Women who lead using their feminine energy can accomplish much more than they can by using their masculine energy. But it does take some adjusting. And our society has not embraced that energy, up till now. We need people who are capable of being balanced in both masculine and feminine energy, to be able to move into either as the situation warrants.
Government Reflecting Society
The role of government is to be a reflection of society, a representation of the needs, hopes and desires of people. That may not have been the original intention at the beginning of this nation, or many other nations. There were some basic needs, which some people decided would be met better if we formed a country and had our own governance. We created the system in order to collectively create an environment where all people can thrive and remain free, where all voices could be heard. Or that is the common concept of why we have government. That isn’t what we have today, but it is something we can aspire to ‘birth’.
Many times we hear about ‘women’s issues’ and they are given very little attention unless it is politically correct to address them. But what are women’s issues? Poverty, hunger, domestic abuse, childhood illness, prostitution, etc. usually fall into the category of women’s issues. While war, monetary control, business and international relations are considered ‘male’ issues.
The truth is that both of these issues are people issues. How can any of those issues, war, peace, hunger, domestic abuse, prostitution etc. not affect men? How can they be considered women’s issues? When war is declared and a country or family is at war, or in conflict women and children are often the victims, because they are less physically able to protect themselves while men are the ones doing the killing and being killed. So war and conflict are the roots, and the by-product affects the women, children and men. When money is used to feed the war machine, food is sacrificed, housing is sacrificed, and healthcare is sacrificed. When a family is in conflict the same is true.
If women are the leaders in our nations will that change anything? Not if women are participating in a male dominated mindset and system. Not if women are using masculine tools. Not when women accept the ‘us against them’ ideology. When a political debate is arranged, the setting is designed to create a win or lose result. The participants are opponents; the strategy is designed to give each person the ability to tear down the other’s argument, to use force to show the audience their skills but not to discuss the plans, or policies or ideas.
It is not that men have messed up the planet because they intended to do so, but they are playing a game, which starts in primary school and continuing it, as they are encouraged to do. They are taught to fight for their rights, fight for their piece of the pie, fight for their pride, their country, their honour and fight for their property and sometimes women and children are included in that concept of property; they are taught that the one with the most toys is the winner. They are taught to react to life and be prepared to defend and protect. The fight mentality is very prevalent in our society today. We hear it the words fight for or war against in our media, in our workforce, in our schools and sports programs. We support the concept through our acceptance of it.
Women are taught to build, to create, to bake food to nourish the family, to clean and make the home habitable, to share their things, to embrace the stranger and to give life. They are taught to feel and be compassionate to the less fortunate. They are taught to negotiate for their piece of the pie and never take what is not given to them. Women learn to anticipate rather than react. We don’t wait until it is Thanksgiving Day to run out and buy the ingredients for the perfect meal. We know its coming and we prepare. We know when we are about to give birth and we prepare. We know when something is not in harmony and we attempt to eradicate the problem.
We don’t have to wait to see that war is going to create poverty, lack of medical care, lack of food supplies, rape of ourselves and our children, loss of life and limb etc. We know what war will bring and we do whatever we can to avoid it. We don’t rush to give birth to a child to provide a new generation for war. We don’t stockpile weapons to protect us in the future conflict. We consider ways to create peace instead. We don’t wait to stop a greedy child from taking all of the toys, or all of the food at the table; we intervene calmly and firmly. We don’t wait for an all out battle where someone will get hurt. We teach manners, compassion and sharing so that all the children can play safely and have their needs met. We know that when everyone is fed, all health concerns are addressed and everyone has a warm dry place to sleep, that all ‘conflicts’ can be discussed rationally.
We also know that when basic needs are not met, people will become cranky. When there is a threat that basic needs will be denied, or are out of our control, then people will become fearful and irrational and we will not be able to discuss anything. We will not be able to plan a better way under those circumstances. Can you plan a festive occasion when your family is in conflict? Can you plan your summer vacation when you aren’t sure about where you’ll be sleeping tonight?
Do We Want Women to Lead?
Women can lead and create a better world, but they will have to have the support of men. Men have been creating a world that we are not very happy about, but they’ve been doing it with the support of women. Whether we know it or not, our silence is consent. When we are allowing ourselves to be denied our voice, we are supporting a system without our very significant point of view. When women express anger over lack of food, lack of care for our seniors, lack of medical care, lack of basic needs, and our anger left unspoken, leads to depression; many women end up medicated by a male dominated medical system. There are very few societies that allow women to express anger. Both men and women are very uncomfortable with women’s anger.
It is not a case of whether women can lead, because we do it everyday. We set the standards in our homes; workplaces and we are the backbone of our societies. We bring to the fore the needs of our families and express them in non-confrontational ways. We ask for enough food for our children, all of our children in every home, in every nation all over the globe. We are asking for basic needs to be met, but until we are heard and action is taken we are not going to birth a new and better world. When women say there is a need but that need is denied with force, or lack of money, or lack of physical support, then our leadership is undermined and will not be effective. When women said they wanted to have a say in their country’s business through their vote, the predominant male government of the day said, NO. There was nothing they could do, until women across the country stood together following other women who led the way.
We Were Not Meant to Fight
A woman cannot take on her male counterpart in a physical manner, generally speaking. If she must fight physically for her rights she will lose. But so will the men. Every time a woman is beaten into submission, the entire family unit is wounded, and so is the community she lives in. Every time a woman is made to use her masculine will to make something right, like protect herself or her children, she exhausts herself and denies her true nature. Often she has no choice. A woman in that state cannot express her true creativity, her nurturing, and her ability to give birth. Men and women were not meant to be adversaries. We were meant to compliment each other.
Women, who lead us to a better world, will need the support of other women, as well as men. This will take wisdom. It will take a willingness to hear other points of view. Not all women will be willing, nor will all men. But a new idea will take a great deal of wisdom from a number of sources. Women who lead will need to let go of the idea that they must be like men in order to succeed. We need the qualities of women to negotiate, to plan ahead, to see what is on the horizon and to visualize the better way. We need women to bring to the world those qualities that allow them to ensure all of their children are fed, not just the pretty ones. We need the qualities of fairness, that allow women to share, to listen to others points of view, to create peace around our dinner tables and bring that peace out into the world.
We have seen a trend in our society in the last 20 years or so where young women are becoming more violent, more aggressive and this is cause for concern. Our society has taught women that we are vulnerable to attack, rape, domestic violence and we have allowed ourselves to become a product, a trophy and if not beautiful enough for that then what value do we have? It is my observation that young women who have adopted the traditional male aggression to be seen, to be heard and to get ahead, are acting out the lack, which their mother’s generations have simply accepted, suppressed and denied.
It does not have to be this way. We can do better….
Filed under: Social/Political/Human Issues
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