My hypothesis is that men as well as women in the workplace are caught up in the gravitational pull of the masculine style. The workplace becomes more masculine, not more balanced.
It concerns me that, in the corporate workplace, women and men conform to the masculine model. If we all do that, first, we lose ourselves and become less authentic. Equally important, we perpetuate and ratchet up the imbalance we have in terms of masculine and feminine in the world of work (and the world generally). I don’t want women to become “men” in order to succeed. And I don’t want men becoming more masculine in order to fit in and feel respected. I want men and women to discover the strengths of feminine as well as masculine ways of working and leading.
Have you ever seen people not only judge, but actually fear, a way of doing things different from their own way? I already knew that leaders may not think of women because they do not “look the part.” Now I know they may actually fear giving assignments and promotions to a woman. They have a harder time envisioning her succeeding. And they may fear that her different (feminine) approach will not get as good a result as the more common (masculine) approach.
The term “mansplain” has been coined to describe this: someone who talks as if he or she knows something – and does not listen to what someone else does know. It describes when someone dominates a conversation rather than having a dialogue. Women do it, too; but the term suggests men do it more. I explore reasons for this, including sources from the masculine end of the masculine-feminine continuum. A friend suggests that male birds attract and impress female with bright plumage. Lacking that, human males dominate conversations. I’d prefer plumage to mansplaining!
The proximity of three big holidays makes me reflect on the mission of Difference WORKS — helping create workplaces that value, in both men and women, both masculine and feminine ways of thinking, working and leading. This is a niche in the broader field of diversity and inclusion and the issues related to women’s rights. Thanksgiving makes me grateful that American women have made more advances than in many areas of the world. For the season of giving, I give you my holiday greetings and a commitment to keep at my mission. For New Year’s, I hope anything negative for your in 2014 is left behind and that 2015 is great.