Women Will Inherit The World

I had the opportunity to attend an Egyptian Women Solidarity event today at Occupy Oakland.  There was supposed to be a march, but an encounter with the police turned it into a lecture atmosphere.  I listened to a number of different women (a few Egyptian themselves) talk about the history of oppression but also how women have become some of the main movers and shakers of the Egyptian revolution.

The “leaderless” nature of the occupy movement has provided a number of insights to me as I’ve observed GA’s.  One of the most common occurrences of the early stages of the movement included women calling out men as privileged and patriarchal.  In pretty much all cases, they were right.  Being a “white/straight/male” essentially disqualifies myself from speaking up as much as I would like to at GA’s.  However, when asked my opinion I happily share.

The necessity of “occupying patriarchy” is obvious.  Patriarchy has a rich history of keeping women’s voices marginalized and repressed.  Meanwhile rape and domestic violence occurs with appalling frequency throughout our culture.

Misogyny has become an unspoken norm for too many people.  It’s prevalence in the media and in music is inexcusable.  I know that artists justify their use of it as simply holding a mirror up to society.  That is no excuse.  Artists must begin holding themselves and others to a higher standard.  Misogyny has no place in the society so many of us want to create.

I believe that women should inherit the world (I also believe that that is a male-centric and privileged statement – and yet necessary to make).  I believe that women have healthier habits of communication and relationship.  Women often will seek understanding before judging.  Women’s ability to care-take is a strength that is underutilized in positions of leadership.  Women have a way of building consensus that subverts any attempts at autocracy.

Men have much to learn from women, and yet men quickly default to prideful stubbornness.

If equality is truly a value, then I think it is in society’s best interest for men to repeatedly and lovingly elevate women’s voices on all issues.  Equality can only be manifested if men make the effort since it is primarily men that are in the positions of power.

I encourage women and men everywhere to actively shout down anyone who is using elitist, patriarchal or misogynist language in public.  I would also encourage women and men  to make signs for their houses and neighborhoods that declare the area a “Rape Free Zone.”

There are numerous studies that talk about this stuff.  Here’s one:  http://womensissues.about.com/od/intheworkplace/a/WomenLeaders.htm

In 2005, a year-long study conducted by Caliper, a Princeton, New Jersey-based management consulting firm, and Aurora, a London-based organization that advances women, identified a number of characteristics that distinguish women leaders from men when it comes to qualities of leadership:

Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders….Women leaders were also found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts….enabl[ing] them to read situations accurately and take information in from all sides….These women leaders are able to bring others around to their point of view….because they genuinely understand and care about where others are coming from….so that the people they are leading feel more understood, supported and valued.

The Caliper study findings are summarized into four specific statements about women’s leadership qualities:

  1. Women leaders are more persuasive than their male counterparts.
  2. When feeling the sting of rejection, women leaders learn from adversity and carry on with an “I’ll show you” attitude.
  3. Women leaders demonstrate an inclusive, team-building leadership style of problem solving and decision making.
  4. Women leaders are more likely to ignore rules and take risks.

As far as I’m concerned these are plenty enough reasons to follow women.  The glass ceiling needs shattering.

Here is one more white/straight/male perspective:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/opinion/10kristof.html

On a different level:  I believe that we are going through some massive social transitions at present.  The process is similar to childbirth.  In fact it’s practically the same thing.  The baby is coming whether people like it or not.  It’s an organic happening and is transforming reality as we know it.  It will be painful.

However, we can all minimize that pain by committing to nonviolence.  That’s something I’ve already done and something that I would urge all of Oakland and the occupy movement as a whole to do.  Forgive me for being presumptuous but somebody has to make this stuff obvious.  We can’t wait.  The birth process is all about the timing.

As the birth process continues –  my main question to all women remains:  Will you always prioritize people before profits?

2 comments on “Women Will Inherit The World

  1. I think it’s more complicated than that. There are millions of men who feel enslaved in this society. If they don’t marry, they may be viewed as having never grown up. If they do marry, they run the risk of marrying someone who will just one day up and change their mind about marriage, get a divorce, and enslave the man with monthly alimony payments while they seek to rediscover themselves.

    I think men and women in a marriage setting tend to be more alike than different. Once either or both attains what they think they want from the marriage, they eventually may get curious about what could have been, what else is out there, and then have to decide whether to recommit, or move on.

    Society tends to protect the married women via alimony payments, which can just devastate the man who now has to pay all of their own expenses, plus an additional expense of a person no longer in their lives.

    I don’t trust anyone who thinks one sex has a definite advantage over the other, just as I don’t trust how men in the media screwed over Hillary Clinton in 2008. And yet, so did leading women like Oprah, Huffington, Shriver, and Pelosi.

    Evaluating how much “better” a person might be if they found the right mate is a task often overlooked by those looking for love. Many times people settle for what makes themselves initially happy in a relationship, and then society has to pick up the mess that results 5 to 10 years later.

  2. this is not about marriage to me – it’s about empowerment. i think marriage is a tired institution that has lost most of its legitimacy. it’s fine if people want to co-habitate – in fact i think its a great way to live. it’s even better to center the relationship spiritually. but doing it for reasons of tradition or – godforbid – tax benefits is just silly.

    my point is that at this particular juncture in time – i think men should defer judgement to women. or at the bare minimum question their own preconceived superiority.

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