Fritjof Capra in The Tao of Physics, referred to a cultural imbalance in the Eastern terms, yin and yang.
“The Chinese terminology of yin and yang is very useful to describe this imbalance. Our culture has consistently favored yang or masculine values and attitudes and has neglected their complimentary yin or feminine counterparts. We have favored:
- Self-assertion over integration
- Analysis over synthesis
- Rational knowledge over intuitive wisdom
- Science over religion
- Competition over cooperation
- Expansion over conservation, and so on.”
Capra argued that this one-sided development is bad for society and pointed to the importance of regaining a balance between the masculine and feminine sides of human nature:
“The survival of our whole civilization will depend ultimately on adopting some of the yin attitudes and reaching wholeness and harmony between the masculine yang and feminine yin.”
Capra wrote this in 1975. This year (2013), John Gerzema published The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future. He says that masculine forms of leadership must be balanced with feminine forms of leadership. The best workplaces, and best leaders, use both masculine and feminine skills.
I agree with both of them. Nearly two decades have passed since Capra called for what Gerzema now heralds as the “ascendency” of the feminine. What will it take for businesses to truly value, model and leverage both masculine and feminine ways of working and leading? That is my mission. Gender diversity in leadership is good for the bottom line because, with it, businesses will get a greater balance of both masculine and feminine strengths. That is the purpose of my book and my blogs. I speak and facilitate workshops to show leaders how to value and leverage both and so achieve the upsides of gender diversity.
Do you think we are getting closer to “wholeness and harmony” between masculine and feminine ways of thinking and leading?