Firefighters are male and nurses are female, male entrepreneurs stand for ego, resilience and over-confidence, female entrepreneurs denote service and the tendency to be risk averse, men are steady, women are emotional – we tend to accept, rather than question, the status quo of this belief system.
These stereotypes are real, and these antiquated attitudes of "men's work" versus "women's work" continue to hold considerable influence when it comes to business decisions. It’s 2020, and women are still under-represented in most industries, men are still seen as primary breadwinners (not caregivers) and female CEOs currently make up only 5% of Fortune 500’s CEOs. From candidate placements, to salaries, incentives and performance evaluations – inequality prejudices are rife and stem from outdated patriarchal systems and how we have learned to see ourselves in relation to others. So, where, and how, can change begin?
“Companies need open and explicit discussion of how differences can be used as sources of individual and organizational effectiveness.”
Harvard Business Review
An equal society
When we go back to our humanity, we leave gender behind. We leave stereotypes behind. We leave limitations behind. Instead, we focus on leveraging our uniqueness, working with both our masculine and feminine aspects to find a complementary balance between two forces that together, make us human. The leaders of tomorrow are those who can explore the full range of their masculine and feminine, enabling them to express their life-force energy consciously. They come from a place of authenticity where vulnerability is a strength and labels are only found on the back of our clothing. While we cannot flip these judgements overnight, we can all do the inner work required to develop greater empathy and sensitivity toward others and lead from a place of clarity, always showing up as our full selves.
We live in a time when whole industries, economies and political landscapes are becoming more and more volatile and uncertain. It’s the businesses with leaders who know how to connect to the centre of their inner being and lead from a place of “knowing”, that will adapt more easily and thus also be the most successful.