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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

Emerging themes from IWD2021

Early this week I was part of a phenomenal global 36 hour #IWD event on Clubhouse, where many thought-provoking conversations took place.

I wanted to share some of the themes that came up in the session that I co-hosted with Souad Christina Saied – “what female leaders can bring to the purpose-led business movement”.

Much of the discussion focused on “feminine” attributes. The point was made that these are not exclusive to women, but seem to come more naturally to more of us.

Intuition, compassion, empathy, collaborative (vs competitive) relationships, vulnerability and authenticity.

Another point was that these traits have traditionally been un-or under-valued in business environments. People haven’t felt confident in sharing these traits.

Business (corporate especially) has operated largely with masculine energy. Growth, profit, competition. Let’s face it, emotion in business is seen as a weakness. Masculine rules govern the way business operates. Yet it begs the question… where has this got us?

“It’s the economy stupid” – might be the response. But at what cost?

- Environmental and cultural destruction. - Workplace bullying - Sexual harassment and violence, misogyny, patriarchy - Inequality - Mental health issues

Hasn’t the cost of gender imbalance in business become patently clear?

Isn't it time we extend our thinking from the need to promote gender balance just because it's fair, towards what gender imbalance is actually costing society?

Surely the pressing issue is that any hope for a sustainable society simply depends on bringing gender balance to our businesses and government.


How well are women represented in leadership and board roles in your business?

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