On the 8th March to celebrate International Women’s day perhaps it is appropriate give credit to the many female Heads of State, CEO’s, Owners and Mothers. How interesting that the world has a strong representation of female leaders, 22 countries in total including Denmark, Poland, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Brazil and Norway. This is quite a sizeable representation of women in top leadership positions, some in countries that are culturally showing more masculine than feminine qualities. (Hofstede) It is irrelevant what you think about them, but the fact is these female leaders are running governments and countries in what can only be termed a very troubled and challenging period, including Teresa May who is grappling with the turmoil created by Brexit. Angela Merkel holding strong as the German Chancellor who has just been re-elected (with some help from her friends), and Norway Erna Solberg who has been Prime Minister since 2013.
What are the principle characteristics of female leadership? Can we characterize these principles and definitively separate them from the principles of male leadership? Unlikely, because styles of leadership differ amongst men and women equally depending on education, experience, courage, individuality, stamina and so on. However, when looking at women and men, there are differences and when women bring these differences into play we might see different characteristics, many of which come naturally to women.
- Intuitive and sensitive emotional intelligence
- Ability to sense the emotion behind something as well as see the facts – therefore make decisions on both factual and emotional levels
- Patience and tolerance
- Ability to forgive and let go
- Quiet drive, stamina and courage
- Ability to multi task therefore being able to think about, understand and action different points with ease
- Ability to release own emotions to relieve tension and break stress often through crying. As well as breaking the tension in a situation.
- Happy to be out of the limelight and just get on with the job
In this list I am not saying that men do not have some of these characteristics, I am saying that these characteristics are more common in women in general, but particularly in female leaders.
What does this all mean? Are we moving into a time when female leadership is more appropriate for the challenges we face in today’s world – starvation, homelessness, loneliness, escalation in chronic disease, environmental damage on a huge scale, greed by the few who want to monopolize the many, to name but a few?
I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know the questions: How much longer can we, as human beings go on living in an environment that we are determined to destroy, removing the right to heritage for generations to come?
How long can we continue to ignore, flush over, minimize the impacts of large industrial farming whether fishing, dairy, crop or animal farming on human health. Not to mention the pain caused to the animals themselves and the impact on waterways, air and the earth?
How long can we go on not listening to, or covering up the detrimental impact of processing foods on our health and the health of our children, leading to escalation in chronic disease, obesity and stress, all of which we see in most of the English speaking world, with other countries not far behind having adopted a Western diet?
Lets celebrate all our female leaders and leadership, not only on this day, but everyday whether Heads of State, Heads of Companies, Company Owners or Mothers. Perhaps it is our leadership that will turn the ship to become more caring and responsible about how we live, what we live for and what we leave behind?