Leadership: What Difference Do Women Make?

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Masum Momaya, Curator
Masum Momaya, Curator
United States

What Difference Do Women Make?

In March, the Women Power and Politics exhibition asked if you think having women in power makes a difference. We deliberately used "women" in plural because, for the first time in history, we are seeing women exercise their power as a critical mass, be in formal politics in the Parliament of Norway or the village councils of India or in more informal ways, as religious leaders in Morocco, community activists in Nigeria or grassroots leaders in Mexico. What do you think are going to be the effects of this critical mass?

Mothers are powerful!

When I think of powerful women, I think of those who have shaped the personalities and lives of our next generation of people - our mothers, sisters and female mentors. Some may see it as a curse or a blessing that women have been assigned the role of child rearing, but I surely hope they don't see it as disempowering!

Masum Momaya, Curator
Masum Momaya, Curator
United States

Mothers are already a critical mass!

This is great point! We actually already have a critical mass of women leading all over the world: mothers! If only there was a way to account for the difference that mothers have made in our lives = and in politics... Stay tuned to future stories - and, in particular, the month of May, when we'll showcase "Maternal Politics."

What an amazing exhibition!

I just read the story in your exhibition called Two Million Women and Counting. How amazing!

I think this is what you mean Masum about critical mass. One of the most populous countries in the world and so many women participating in politics at the local level! I think this is so much more important than having one woman climb to the top of the political ladder. How different the world would be if our millions of little local governments were run by women.

HMA
Lebanon

Women are the powerful sex.

"For the hand that rocks the cradle Is the hand that rules the world." To me, women are the more powerful sex. If we come to think of it, they are the cornerstone of each society even of those that do not admit it. They are the ones that shape generations: that is true. Most of the pre-schools and early school years teachers are females. So if the child is not affected by one woman he/she is affected by the other. If women will rule the world with the same gentleness and strength that they raise their children with, I think we will be fine. Hopefully the right women will rise to power and won't repeat the same mistakes men did.

Masum Momaya, Curator
Masum Momaya, Curator
United States

By Socialization or Design?

I wholeheartedly agree that women contributions as mothers, caregivers and child-rearers are underacknowledged. But in saying that there are more powerful "sex," do you think there is something inherent in women's biology that allows for these kinds of contributions or is this more a product of how women's roles - and gender roles - have evolved historically? Couldn't the same be cultivated in men? And aren't there examples of men who contribute in these ways already?

It Takes More than Numbers

Women’s Learning Partnership has learned through experience that parity in number of women in leadership, though important, is not sufficient. A qualitative change in the practice of leadership and the nature of leadership goals is required to realize gender equality, rights, development, and peace. Therefore, together with our partners, we have created a concept of leadership that is participatory, horizontal, and dialogue-based. Everyone can be a leader and, at various times, both a leader and a follower. Sharing power and respect for the other is essential for creating group synergy that empowers the individual and mobilizes collective action. This model of participatory leadership provides a powerful means for women to pursue their shared vision of a just world. Women, working in partnership, can learn the skills and strategies to become effective leaders in their families, communities, and societies, and influence society to move in the direction of their goals. All of society will benefit from a leveled balance of power between men and women.

Deborah Costello
Deborah Costello
United States

Twenty years ago I would have said it is a result of how gender roles have evolved over time and we can consciously shift how women and men contribute. I have changed my mind after watching my son and daughter develop. There is a biological component. We can inspire a broader perspective but we can't change it entirely.

HMA
Lebanon

I said the women are more powerful because of their role. Nature gave the child a more powerful link with his/her mother and is more impressed by her(especially in the most early years). I am not saying men have no role, I am not one of those who deny men's role. But if we compare humans to a construction, women are the basis. If that basis is not strong enough then the whole building is affected.

Thasneem Hoey
United States

Woman is power

She is! Woman is power because she sees things more global, simple eg. she captures everything in a glance, while men compartmentalize this. Woman's brain is such it can multi-task at the same time play multiple roles, she can be a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, sister or a neighbor. She is power because she is adapatable, she is power because she brings life on earth, she is power because she is central in a family, educate a woman and you have educated the whole family. Woman ia power because she is rising today with centuries of oppression, Woman is power because she has compassion, Woman is power because she has a heart! She is powerful because she alone knows to care!

Julia Halprin Jackson
Julia Halprin Jackson
United States

I'm often struck by the bravery of women I don't know. I'm not surprised by the convictions or actions of my mother or grandmothers, my aunts and friends and mentors. Where I think women make the most difference is in communities where they fill a niche that is generally not allotted to them--both in the everyday and in the extraordinary. There is a certain power to maintaining tradition, to raising children and keeping house; and there is another power to focusing on a career, to being committed to social change, or juggling both. Personally, the most empowering part of being a woman is that moment of self-identification when I make a decision to be who I want to be, to believe what I want and represent what I think is important. Mothers can do that, and politicians (of both genders) can do that. Women will always make a difference, and I think that impact will only increase as we own our awareness.

Masum Momaya, Curator
Masum Momaya, Curator
United States

Contributions of Feminism?

Is that one of the biggest contributions of feminism? To allow us to be "who it is we want to be"...

For self and others

I don't know if it is the greatest achievement, but the feminist movement's liberation from the pre-determined self is pretty significant. But I also think this reaches beyond just women's empowerment. When the feminist movement forced people to rethink gender roles, it also gave room for generations of men to redefine themselves. I think being raised a boy is incredibly oppressive. I would never wish to be reared by society that tells me I must be aggressive, show no emotion, win at all costs... Frankly I'm pretty relieved that I was raised to be a nurturer and I'm even more relieved that the feminist movement has made space for me to reject that if I so choose.

Chris
Chris
United States

Change starts within

Having just returned from a film festival screening of the "Dalai Lama Renaissance" I was reminded once again of a value that I hold near to my heart - that change starts within. Am I embodying the kind of change I wish to see for women? Do I walk my talk? For me that's where is starts. So, I pose the question "What is our vision for the change we wish to see? How can we start to be that change today?" As women leaders, one of the most important ways that we can make a difference is by being the change we wish to see right now.

REGINA
Kenya

WOMEN POWER

It was till recently that women realised how powerful they are and they are taking the world by storm. Women need to create one strong movement that takes all efforts from women around the world. yes they are our mothers, sisters and wives yet they are the only tool of peace and justice for all without any favours. You are very powerful my dear reader, just keep pushing for the best of others and God will take care of you.

REGINA
Kenya

I witnessed women make a difference

During the after election violence, Women were the first to start seeking for peace. We held a two day women forum and everybody was so repentant of the things that had been done to our fellow neighbours and especially women and children. We all accepted to have taken part and we said we will start with our own homes to make peace and emphasis on love for all people. Our children (youths followed), then our husbands and thats how we had the whole country singing peace and reconciliation. To date so many are still praying for reconciliation in different fellowships mostly women cell (prayer)groups. No doubt women are very powerful.

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