What if…

I read an article yesterday on “The Economist”, the headline being “A Nordic mystery”. The text was interesting, asking why there aren’t more women in top positions in the private sector in these countries that are considered the most egalitarian in the world. This blog will focus on the 98 comments that followed…

Some of them suggested that women don’t want to be managers, and some said that women prefer to stay at home.  I don’t disagree, some women don’t want to be managers, some women do prefer to stay at home – and what about men? Don’t you think that some of them are also happy where they are, without wanting to fight to get to the top? Don’t you think some of them also would like to have shorter days at work and go home to play with their children? I’m amazed at the fact that people still seem to think that all men or all women are wired the same.

I feel like taking this world in my hand, shake it around a few times and see where the pieces will fall down, without the history of the old world.

The old world was made up of men being in majority at work (with the consequence that the rules of the game were made by and for men). The old world didn’t allow women to take an education. The old world thought women didn’t have a brain that functioned as well as men. The old world also thought Africans were lesser humans.

Things have changed in the meantime, in most parts of the world.

What if the new world could be even more different? What if men and women could just be who they are? What if there was a world where typical male and typical female traits were seen to be as good and as important? Where a masculine woman and a feminine man were just as normal as any other combination of traits? A world where many different kind of roads would lead to success? (Without the list of “This is how you have to be to make it in life”. ) What if a company would stop expecting their top managers to work 80 hours a week? What if we looked at profit in a different way?

When I read the comments under The Economist article, I must admit I felt rather frustrated; so many stereotypes, so many simplifications of what “women really want”, so many old “truths”.  What if I, as a woman, would say about men in general: “Yes, I know what you all want, you all want to be CEO’s, all 3,5 billion of you”.

I was pleased that not all of the comments were what I would categorize as old school.  One of the persons who commented asks the question: “What do we want in a CEO or a senior executive? If the answer is alpha male behavior, ruthless ambition, the ability to physically and emotionally bully others in a meeting, then yes, you’re going to get mostly men, and men of a certain type (in the US, it helps if you played football) »

There are moments where I don’t think that we have matured as species. But overall, we have. And, we still have a long way to go.

Here’s the link to the article I mentioned: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21632512-worlds-most-female-friendly-workplaces-executive-suites-are-still-male-dominated


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