by Dr. Pauline Crawford
Building authentic 21st century living, we need to consider how men and women share the social, domestic and economic space together. In corporate organisations, philanthropic and charity enterprises, men and women more equally share the workload than ever before but not always in equal ways such as position, pay and respect. Much focus on gender equality – or rather inequality – has potentially hampered the progress of gender inclusivity in many arenas, quote rightly seeking parity yet often creating conflict. There is now a shift occurring naturally that will potentially enable gender inclusivity to be a key strategy for sustainable growth.
In the charity arena, many organisations have been run by men for centuries and as an example ten years ago in the UK very few women were CEO’s. Now the glass ceiling has been shattered and four of the five top charities are headed by women as published by the guardian recently.
Observing the world_ more comprehensively, in the latest research quoted by The Athena Doctrine’s authors The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio shows that there is evidence of a major shift towards a more gender inclusive and gender balanced leadership across the world. This shift embraces a feminine style for men and women alike and this is proving not just successful but more sustainable than the past. This shift is occurring in all sectors across charitable, social enterprise and even serious corporate emporiums where men have been in charge for decades.
In Malaysia, the drive to alleviate issues of poverty, homelessness, disability and the like, may do well to attract this new style leadership, one of collaboration, compassion, genuine caring and sharing. This must embrace both men and women as the leaders and volunteer workforce in these charitable organisations that seek to serve humanity and embrace a new way of working in terms of communication, team building and service. In this arena of charitable and volunteering work, gender inclusivity becomes an essential element of the work culture to ensure long term success.
So, what does it mean in reality and what are the potential obstacles that occur when mis-understandings affect the service to the end users?
Adjusting to this shift for current daily awareness, maybe men and women can create a gender dynamic that works for all types of men and women, of all generations, cultures and creeds? This could embrace a natural inclusive blueprint for how men and women can understand each other with more clarity, authentic engagement and healthy collaboration. Yet given diverse backgrounds, ages, cultures, ethnic groups and sexual orientation, men and women are often influenced by stereotypes and prejudices against each other. Rather than valuing natural gender attributes and talents, bias can block progress and hinder the good intentions charities are set up to help. When gender prejudices are put under pressure from well-established stereotypes and learned gender bias, even well-meaning people can be tested to their limits. These prejudices can block the growth of enterprises across the world in every sector.
A new lens is required that provides a real-world, real-time, understanding about our ‘male-female’ biological differences and much more; it assesses the impact those ‘born’ biological characteristics have on our natural behaviour and communication styles and allows us to understand each other more easily.
Our gender biology is merely a starting point. There is far more depth to the gender challenge and that is within each gender as we overlay onto the biological impact those traits that come from our natural internal preferences. These are named here as descriptive terms of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ appropriately within every sexual orientation. These traits that can be observed and recognized in words, behaviours and actions which differentiate how we relate and work together.
As more and more women enter the charity arena to both work alongside men and/or lead organisations, the influence of gender awareness and unbiased gender inclusive cultures is essential to improve results all round. In the charitable sector, this can prove to be significant to co-create a more collaborative and sustainable future for that service which their staff and volunteers wish to deliver.
Find out more about Dr. Pauline's important work in heightening our appreciation of gender dynamics at genderdynamicsdna.com