Glass ceilings were meant to be broken. With each successive crack, from Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto and Imelda Marcos to Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner we have Parliaments, Senates, Upper and Lower Houses, Mayors and City Councils with women. Whether there is gender parity or otherwise in all these august bodies, whether all members of the United Nations have had women leaders at some point of their governing periods, it is not just in the political arena where women need to lead.
We need more women leaders in business, charities, on Boards and Chairs of Boards. We need more Janet Yellens, and more leaning in $FB COO’s like Sheryl Sandberg. More philanthropists like Melinda Gates ~ and yes! A long-reigning monarch like Queen Elizabeth II.
The point is, not just that we need more women leaders in different fields of life, but how do women and men work together. For that is the key to success. With the probability of a marriage more likely to end in divorce in the “developed” world, statistics have indicated that men and women do not necessarily communicate effectively with one another, resulting in marital conflict, separation and divorce. Does this therefore mean, that this man-woman conflict will translate into the political and business socio-economic juxtapositions, or do men and women work as a team? Is this a challenge that women shoulder when they are leaders while men lead the way they have since time immemorial, by driving a four-wheel drive over rough terrain? Not to say that I have anything against four-wheel drive vehicles. I have driven them, when they were the only sustainable means of transportation.
It is just that men and women communicate differently, and Mars and Venus are different planets, the focus lying on more than their distance from the Sun. It is just that men and women react differently to the same situation. It is just that men and women behave differently in similar situations. I am not stating that one behavior is “better” than the other. It is merely a matter of difference, and yes, we have the French commending that too. Perhaps we will reach some point of time in this century (or this millennium if we do not pedal faster) when we will stop nattering about glass and marble ceilings and take gender parity and equality as a fact, just as we chalk the Women’s Suffrage Movement as a historical landmark.
As a small business owner, I am cognizant of ceilings and their vertical restrictions. As a woman, I am aware that we get paid approximately 70% of our male counterparts: and this may be the case even when we "pay" ourselves. Until we value feminine output at par with male output; until we realize that it matters not what the gender of the individual, but the quality of the output that must be the decisive factor in meting wages, we may need to progress more than we think we should.