The danger of women v men and how we bring true balance into the workplace

The tide is turning in culture, the way we view ourselves and each other. Press for Progress, Me too and Time’s up campaigns fuelled by Oprah Winfrey’s speech at The Golden Globes are creating a growing global awareness around issues of sexual harassment and gender in equality, and putting increasing pressure on Business to change.

With quotas to appoint women to boards and more legislation in place than ever to protect women’s rights, why are we seemingly so far away from inclusion and equality?  Women are leading countries and businesses, so if that glass ceiling has been broken, why does the glass keep getting replaced?

The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report tends to agree with findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – something I have difficulty contemplating. I believe the glass ceiling will remain in place so long as women refuse to resolve and fully embody their relationship with their own feminine energy, as well as their trust, and connection to other women.

The problem that most women face today is that for years they have had to fight their way to the top, it’s often been a long, hard and lonely journey, surrounded by plenty of competition and with many sacrifices made. For most, it isn’t possible to have it all and so the price of success can take its toll on the body and mind.

Patriarchal systems where not built for women or designed to support the flow of the feminine and so, those women working hard to get to the top, often suffer as a result. I spent 17 years in the corporate space, rising through the ranks, so I can speak from personal experience here. Sometimes the price paid is too high and unless businesses learn how to truly nurture their people and adopt a softer feminine approach, they will find their offices empty of those women with the life experiences and wisdom to truly impact sustainable change. Another burning truth, is that the voice of the feminine is crucial to innovation and wellbeing, she invites us to create a space where we can open up to all our senses, going deeper into the place where creativity and deep wisdom co-exist.

While there have been significant strides forward in the structures and laws needed to support progression, women are struggling internally with stress levels being at a record high. This has resulted in an emerging trend of women leaving Business, which we know is detrimental to the growth of the global economy.

While more women are being recruited to board room positions they are stepping into traditional “safe” feminine focused roles and more often than not they are being paid less for the same effort. The HR, Marketing and PR seats tend to be occupied by a woman, is this due to a woman’s ability to access her intuition, build relationships and inspire creativity or is this another way of minimalizing the expansion of women into the board room. This is a deep question that we believe every business leader should ask of him or herself?

And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s a strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support that is paving the way for more balanced boardrooms, which will in-turn have a positive impact on people, profit and planet.

Through my coaching work with women, there is a reoccurring pattern that crops up over again. It is commonplace for a working woman to do everything she can to step into the shoes of a man, only to realise many years down the line that she lost herself along the way. This realisation is often a painful one, but it also lights the spark for beautiful change. These woman start over with a fresh sense of what it is to be a woman, they start a new quest that supports them to find a balance between strength and softness – to stay connected to their hearts as they step forward to create a legacy of truth and beauty. They are trailblazers, shapeshifters and feminine leaders paving the way for a new form of interaction, one that moves towards expressive fullness, body wisdom, innovation and the creative flow of ideas.

Through our work at A Tribe Called Woman, we can see a trend of tackling these issues in a non-confrontational way. And whilst we recognise the need to challenge, we believe in inclusive conversations and working with men who champion women, and the importance of facilitating shifts in culture towards a softer feminine energy that is in balance with healthy masculine management traits.

We see a growing demand for feminine focused leadership within workplaces and research shows this has a positive impact upon wellbeing, culture and the bottom line. We see an opportunity to finally stop the battle of the sexes in favour of collaboration on inclusive leadership, equality and connection.  What about you, what’s your vision for the future?

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