Monday, March 2, 2009

It's our time! Women in leadership

Everywhere I turn I hear this is the year for women in leadership! From women in politics and business to women in the arts, word has it that the time has come where women are gaining ground in the leadership stakes.

Does this mean that the women who have always been there are now being publicly acknowledged for their contributions or is there a tangible increase in the number of women exerting influence in our daily lives and evolution?

Women in the driving seat
South Africa’s political track record is cause for much debate these days. With an impending election due in April this year, the campaigning is at its height. In terms of women however, the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) has demonstrated worthy accomplishments in their executive ranks. Significantly, since 1994 (the year of the first democratic elections in South Africa), the ANC has increased women’s representation in parliament from 27% to 42%. During this time, South Africa has also had two female deputy presidents; Phumzile Mlbambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbete-Kgositsile.

Recently, former South African president Nelson Mandela’s wife, Gra├ža Machel, a prominent human rights activist in her own right, was an influential humanist voice next in the Zimbabwe negotiations towards a coalition government. Her voice was assertive, empathetic and caring.

A feminine touch to the soft diplomacy stance taken by former president Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders, Machel added a heart-felt dimension to the plight of the people that many had uttered but somehow, her message rang loudest.

So what is it that women bring to the table in politics, business or otherwise? Could it be our celebrated female intuition laced with a little love? Perhaps it’s knowing that working from the heart in fact strengthens the bond to your word and so your intention?

Your heart at the centre
We grew up hearing that the heart has no place in business and that the most effective businesswomen had to behave like men (read: no emotion) to crack the glass ceiling of the gender divide. The past decade has shown business that a people-first approach is more likely to nurture loyalty, trust and ultimately increase productivity. So, maybe it’s no surprise that 2009 is being heralded as the year that women rightfully take their place as leaders in the new world order?

As the world is being recalibrated, we sense the palpable need to do everything we’ve been doing differently. So, the question is; are we women leveraging our God-given advantage with clear purpose and in-depth understanding of the potential we have to change our world, at this time, for the greater good of humanity? We are often credited with being closer to the mystical powers of intuition but do we really know how to access it and use it well on a sustained basis?

Fact is, we women have always been leaders in our personal spheres of influence. If the world is waking up and taking note, that’s great! Now, the call for enhanced leadership of the feminine kind is all pervasive. Its time to sharpen up by tuning into the world more often through the heart and less systematically through the brain. In this way, our love-logic will holistically channel new healing energy into the world and enable both male and female shaped intuitive, heart-felt leadership to higher heights.

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