With our world turned upside down through so much economic calamity, greed and selfishness, is it finally time for women to rule the world?
At the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, some 100 women got together on a Saturday morning to hear a panel discussion called "The Girl Effect." These female leaders from around the world talked about focusing on helping girls and women in developing countries gain better access to health care, education and job opportunities.
"This is the solution to a long list of world messes from poverty and hunger to the spread of HIV and violence -- and in this financial crisis its one of the best investments we can make," said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, who moderated the panel. Joining her were Nike CEO Mark Parker, Mari Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus.
Kudos to Nike who has focused much of its recent charitable efforts on helping girls in poor countries. Kudos to Kiva.org with its microfinance focus on women. Kudos to Connie Duckworth who created a rug weaving business in Afganistan called Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, that aims to educate emerging women business owners with certificates of business and mentoring to help their ventures grow.
If more women were in power around the world, from government to NGOs to businesses, would they send their sons and daughters off to war? Would they lace products with melamine to enhance the protein value at the expense of infant and animal health? Would they sell sub-prime mortgage products to unsuspecting home buyers?
About.com featured some fascinating information about women and leadership:
“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.
In her book Why the Best Man for the Job is a Woman: The Unique Female Qualities of Leadership, author Esther Wachs Book examines the careers of fourteen top female executives - among them Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay - to learn what makes them so successful. What she discovers echoes the Caliper study, including a willingness to reinvent the rules; an ability to sell their visions; the determination to turn challenges into opportunities; and a focus on 'high touch' in a high tech business world.
Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, the World YWCA Secretary General, says attitudes toward leadership are changing, and what women offer is essential:
Domination as a leadership style is becoming less and less popular. There is a new growing appreciation of...those traits that women use to keep families together and to organize volunteers to unite and make change in the shared life of communities. These newly admired leadership qualities of shared leadership; nurturance and doing good for others are today not only sought after but also indeed needed to make a difference in the world....A feminine way of leading includes helping the world to understand and be principled about values that really matter.”
What do you think?:
Is collaboration, caring and positive economic, social and personal impact part of our DNA?
- Who do you know that we can single out forher deep commitment to women and girls' success?
- One final thought: could there be a high-powered global summit on women and girls, like the Clinton Global Initiative, that challenges world leaders, NGOs, philanthropists, governments and companies to deeply commit to the highest potential resource in the world -- women? Who should lead this and how should it be structured?