It’s a fact that we still live in a male-dominated world. As proof, a World Bank Report found that of 187 countries examined, only six have equal rights for women and men. And a recent OECD report found that women in developed economies with a university degree are paid 26 per cent less than men with equal credentials.
We can discuss gender quotas, but more balance will come only when people understand the benefits of leadership, not power. Academic studies abound on the difference between the two. A summary of my readings points to how leadership is about inspiring and enabling teams to perform and co-create to the benefit of the many, not the few. Power, on the other hand, is a short-term vision aimed at securing ‘control’ rather than leading on shared values. Power erodes the communal fabric, while leadership nurtures it. Women are especially skilled at building strong relationships based on values of honesty, transparency and sharing – in other words, the values of leadership, not power.
The goal of good governance is the more equitable sharing of prosperity. While we still live in an overly male-dominated part of the world, it is up to male leaders to open the door to women – as much as it is up to women to continue to claim their space in leadership. This will be to the benefit of all.