The Planet Could Use Some More Feminine

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The Planet Could Use Some More Feminine

Beware: broad assertions!

Feminine and Masculine

Quick lesson, and I’m no expert, so I’ll just share what I’ve come to understand.  The folks at Michigan State’s Center for Gender in Global Context can probably teach you more.

Female = sexual anatomy = woman.  Male = sexual anatomy = man.

Feminine = gender = traits often associated with women, but fluid and exist in both men and women.

  • Nurture, caring, relationships, other-community, people, connection, nuance

Masculine = gender = traits often associated with men, but fluid and exist in both women and men.

  • Achievement, ambition, wealth, ego-individual, clear roles, material possessions, facts, rules

What We Had

I live in a patriarchy — a historically male dominated society.  Many of you might as well.

With progress, the first era of women taking leadership roles in traditional institutions were those with more masculine traits.  Fit in to get in.

I applaud those women.

And it created another road block.

Before, women and feminine traits were not represented in masculine societal leadership.  Now, women were allowed, but mostly only those with masculine traits.

Women with feminine traits were then compared to women with masculine traits who had “achieved” leadership positions — and compared negatively, I might add.

  • “They just don’t have what it takes.”
  • “They aren’t leadership material.”
  • “They can’t make it in business/government.”
  • “Why can’t they be more like her?”

What they were really saying was, “Leadership is still masculine.  Business is masculine.  Government is masculine.”

Today, only the more progressive companies and institutions are going out of their way to bring women and feminine into the workplace.

What We Have

The environmental movement is struggling through the same issues.

We need millions of people to change their mind about climate change, pollution, social justice, etc.

And the psychology of change, influence, persuasion is clear.  People change their mind when someone they connect with shares information that they trust.

Connect… then share.

But the masculine, hard-science tack has us all fearing that we won’t be taken seriously.  We worry we won’t be trustworthy if we don’t have a mountain of statistics to lay waste to our opponents in debate.

We want to be right.  We want to win arguments.  We want to prove it.

What We Get

The results?

Conversations that turn people off… even further entrenching them in their positions.

Frustrated, some turn to the social media sphere to vent.  Name-calling.  More facts.

Viral media that is consumed by millions… but largely preaches to the choir.  Sorry, Story of Stuff!  You can’t expect to influence business by animating them as a chubby, greedy, snickering thief.

Skip “Connect” and go straight to self-serving.

Masculine, masculine, masculine.

What We Need

We need to connect with people.  We need to read their body language and their non-verbal cues.

We need to look for common ground more than we look for victories.

We need to care about and nurture our opposition and their families as much as we care about our own.  We need to get to know them and what they care about.

Build relationships.  Reach across the aisle.

This is all the realm of the feminine.

It is not better.  It just needs to lead — to come first.  Before the masculine facts and figures.

Yet we’ve not welcomed the feminine into societal leadership positions.  We’ve not applauded the feminine as traits to be expressed, practiced and aspired to.

We need more women like this:

Quote Anderson 1 Quote LaValle 1 Quote Lovins 1 Quote Sethi 1




























Am I way off?

Any examples/research I should link here?

Looking for lots of feedback from women and those better versed in gender issues than I… 



Adam Hammes is the executive director of the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum, a consultant, author, and motivational speaker. He specializes in helping businesses and sustainability professionals with environmental and social performance.

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