The Importance of Women’s Leadership in Our World
Our culture teaches us to value and rely upon left-brain thinking, which is analytical and procedural. Growing up as products of that culture, we learn to discount the inherent value of right-brain thinking, which is innovative and relational.
For hundreds of years, left-brain thinking has been culturally associated with the “masculine.” Without having been balanced by the human capacities of its complement, some of the resulting and widespread cultural patterns have been hierarchy, judgment and aggression.
Most of our societal systems, including our educational, business, health care, media, economic and political systems, reflect and reinforce those biases. The testing and achievement standards used for admission and promotion by graduate degree programs of elite institutions assure that those who rise to many of the most accredited forms of leadership have integrated that bias into their behavior. Most of our highly respected social leaders – of any gender – have had those biases about how leadership looks and behaves reinforced again and again.
Another cultural inheritance of the industrial age reflects a deference to, and bias toward, external authority. People who feel called toward leadership most often await permission, accreditation or an assignment before they feel authorized to act. Carl Jung and other pioneers of the psychological landscape recognize an association of the realm of interiority with the “feminine.” In observing many women’s deep orientation toward and emphasis upon service and pleasing behavior to the detriment of their own inner information and alignment, the importance of strengthening women’s self-awareness and generative capacity has become evident. We prioritize the cultivation of each woman’s sense of inner authority, the deep wisdom that can come from the congruence of all the ways of knowing that are sourced from within.
This time demands leadership skills that – above all else – employ innovative and relational thinking. Effective leaders now need to be resilient and cooperative, and adept at bridging differences and forging collaborations across disciplines, generations, cultures and sectors that have previously operated in silos. Informed by the combination of our inherent and culturally reinforced strengths, women are responding to the call to lead in this essential and timely work of creating webs of connection and collaboration.