by Cara Michele Nether, L.Ac.,M.Ac., NADA RT
Does it really matter if we, as women, figure out how to balance our desire to care for our families with leading the charge for the things that we are passionate about? I say that it does and I am not alone. Joseph Nye agrees also. If more and more people are stating the obvious, how come we don’t have more women leading the way? I suggest that our out-of-balance role as “primary care givers” is a big issue. As women, how can we help ourselves take care of our families and live out our purpose and passion? I think Strong and Clear: The Wellness of Leadership is an answer.
Joseph Nye is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, a professor at Harvard, and the author of The Future of Power. He and I agree that there are certain traits that are crucial to the creation of strong and sustainable partnerships, whether between countries, companies and their consumers, employees and managers, teacher and students, governments and their people or neighbors in a community. And it seems that women exhibit these traits more easily and with more frequency than men.
In an article he wrote (read the whole article here) entitled, “A more peaceful world if women in charge?” Mr. Nye asks the question “does gender really matter in leadership?” In terms of stereotypes, various psychological studies show that men gravitate to the hard power of command, while women are collaborative and intuitively understand the soft power of attraction and persuasion. Americans tend to describe leadership with tough male stereotypes, but recent leadership studies show increased success for what was once considered a “feminine style.”
“Women ..hold only 5% of top corporate positions and a minority of positions in elected legislatures (just 16% in the US, for example, compared to 45% in Sweden). ….Less than 1% of twentieth-century rulers were women who gained power on their own.”
When asking the question “why are women not doing better?” Mr. Nye points to a few concerns. “Lack of experience, primary caregiver responsibilities, bargaining style, and plain old discrimination.”
I am sparked by the explanation of being the “primary caregiver.” The traits explained above that are so useful in the larger business and political context come from our innate drives to care for our families. It used to be that cooking, washing clothing, cleaning the house, and other household responsibilities took all day to complete but not anymore. With the right information, tools and systems we can complete these tasks in a fraction of the time. With the right information, support and systems we can create time to champion the life of our dreams.
Providing the right information, support, and systems was the impetus for the Strong and Clear: The Wellness of Leadership program. With our very own dedicated team of advisors we can create forward-moving habits that not only allow for more ease but foster a stronger, leaner, more energized version of ourselves.
Not until we choose to walk into the direction of our greatest selves will transformation begin.