This editorial is part of our GREAT DEBATE feature ‘Why Aren’t There More Women In Positions Of Power?‘
I believe that women haven’t been assuming more leadership positions in the world today because the systems we’ve created often do not place the right value on the strengths that women can bring to the table.
Fortunately, that’s all set to change.
By the very nature of their role in society, women have evolved certain values that have not yet been fully celebrated within systems that focus on short term financial profits above all else.
A wise woman named Zinny Thabethe once said, “the world’s most dangerous idea is that we are not all the same.” Heeding her words, I realise that these values are ever-present in many men; I’m hesitant to draw broad distinctions between men and women.
So rather than classify them as male or female, I’ll call them Gaia values. Here are three that tend to be prominent in many of the inspiring women I’ve had the good fortune to work with.
People matter—capitalism started out with this premise, freeing people to make a living and pursue their dreams, but as greed fogged people’s views on what really matters, the increasing lack of equity has led to unacceptable human suffering.
Fortunately, our newly connected world has now put the power back into people’s hands. Leaders who put people and equity first will break through the glass ceiling hand in hand with the people they are leading.
Openness is the best policy—as the world becomes more interconnected, this value will become more important. Honest dialogue will become the new power, the new success, the new sexy.
Collaboration is queen—the fight for the top rung of the ladder is becoming irrelevant in the face of the issues and opportunities we face as a global community.
Those who join forces with others for far better outcomes will topple the ladders and build solid, equitable foundations for the emergence of a new way of living and doing business.
So women (and men) armed with these Gaia values are perfectly positioned to take on powerful leadership roles in this changing world order.
The future of successful business will incorporate these values and always do well by doing good. At Virgin Unite we’ve been calling this “Screwing Business as Usual.” There has never been a better time and more critical need for women to embrace leadership roles and for all of us to embrace their Gaia.
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