We all lose when women are abused, suppressed, and deprived the seats of power.
Like Oprah said, “the time is up!” No more sexually abusing and harassing women. No more keeping silent about it. No more giving them unequal pay or imposing beliefs that require they cover themselves up and accept a secondary status to men. But most importantly, no more denying them positions of political and corporate power, because their lack of influence in the decisions that get made in how we use resources or engage other countries may ultimately lead to the destruction of our planet.
Women bring a necessary balancing effect to the predominant masculine way we’ve been running our world. That masculine approach has favored the attributes of aggression, competition, and dominance. But these are not always the best ways of addressing critical world concerns.
It’s a little like the saying, if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. Might and the exertion of physical power aren’t always the right way to “hammer” out problems. They can lead to aggression and war. Competition leaves winners and unhappy losers, and dominance eventually incites rebellion.
While Darwin was right—it’s the strong who survive—strength is not predominantly found in the province of physicality. We’ve learned that strength can be expressed intellectually, emotionally, socially, morally, and spiritually. And we need all forms of strength in our toolkit to solve today’s problems. However, men and women are more naturally inclined to favor certain forms of strength. That’s why it’s important to have equal representation of men and women in positions of power.
One wonders how many times in history certain problems might have been more effectively solved with a feminine approach instead of the masculine one taken? Was aggression and war the only answer? Would an approach that favored non-violence have achieved better results? Gandhi and Martin Luther King would have thought so.
Would cooperating rather than competing, or being compassionate and executing restraint rather than jumping into aggressive action, have gotten the job done? Might we have achieved better outcomes if we had sought to understand, listen, or just “let it be?”
In my forthcoming book The Chrysalis Crisis, I make reference to Jungian psychologist June Singer’s research on androgyny and its relevance to our identity growth. She suggests that men and women have both masculine and feminine characteristics. But some are more natural to one sex and less inclined by the other. In the latter case they’re considered auxiliary functions. However, Singer notes, as we become more conscious of our natural and auxiliary functions, we can learn when to appropriately employ each, and sometimes it’s our auxiliary functions that may be best suited for managing a given situation.
Men need to discover their more feminine nurturing potentials; learn when to be still and listen; when to be receptive and passive; when to cooperate and not compete; when not to be defensive; and when to be more compassionate and vulnerable.
Women need to know when to harness their aggression and turn it into appropriate assertion; how to take leadership; how to compete; when to take action; and how to be equally formidable on all fields of play.
Our world has long been influenced by the disproportionate dominance of the masculine approach to problem solving. This needs to change. But doing so will require identifying, valuing, and harnessing what women have to offer. We need to elevate the feminine, assure that the more natural female approach to problem solving is given equal influence with those of men.
Let’s not wait until we have a societal Chrysalis Crisis before we discover that a more balanced masculine and feminine approach is needed to achieve a harmonious and prosperous world.