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Valuing Feminine Wisdom: An Economic and Social Imperative

12 February 2010 One Comment

- Guest Commentary by Kimberly Weichel

The word feminine means different things to different people. Some think of frilly clothes or perhaps demure and shy attributes. I used to avoid pink clothes as too “feminine,” which I associated with being “girly,” but now I wear pink proudly. For me, it represents the wise feminine.

Both feminine and masculine qualities are very much part of everyone, men and women. Feminine wisdom comes from a centered, holistic, and collaborative perspective that values partnership. Feminine qualities include nurturing, patience, creativity, openness, kindness, and collaboration – all considered the “soft skills,” yet invaluable for life.

As leading author Riane Eisler explains in her book The Chalice and the Blade, our culture still operates in many ways under a dominator model in which men and the overplayed masculine qualities of success, achievement, short-term thinking, control, and “think of No.1” dominate. She emphasizes that it’s time to value the qualities of the feminine and bring them into full partnership with the masculine. In the past this was an issue of social justice; today it is an economic and human imperative.

We can no longer afford to exclude an essential part of ourselves. Wise feminine leadership in its true sense bridges the best of the feminine and masculine. It is inclusive, generous, communicative, and considers a wide range of consequences for any action. It favors long-term thinking and uses intuition in decision-making, so necessary in today’s complex non-linear world.

Fortunately we see a blossoming of women leaders on the world stage as presidents and prime ministers. Look at Argentina (where Michelle Bachelet will soon be leaving office to work with UNIFEM for Haitian women), Chile, India, Germany, Liberia and other nations, as well as the newest leaders of businesses and corporations. What do these women bring to the qualities of leadership? How does being a woman shape their leadership, and how do the feminine values they embody make a difference?

Women leaders are redesigning diverse cultural landscapes at all levels – economic, political and social. These women leaders, when operating out of their feminine wisdom, share rather than hoard information as a source of power, place less emphasis on status, and build their authority by connecting to the people around them. They build a web of inclusion and utilize circles as they set up project teams, staffing, or office layout. Their decisions relate to the larger effects upon the family, the community, the environment, and even world peace.

Women are attuned with the cycles of the body and cycles of nature. We care about and understand renewal and regeneration, developing long-term perspectives rather than maximizing short-term gain. We know what it means to give, preserve, and sustain life. The feminine also embodies a deeper awareness and heightened perception, a tracking of what’s occurring before it becomes visible. This awareness helps us to understand what’s underneath the tension or conflict, so that it can be truly healed and transformed, not just temporarily resolved while continuing to fester.

There are some excellent examples of men in leadership who have developed their feminine side in partnership with their masculine. President Obama is known as a bridger of differences, as he strives to work with both political parties and engage all sides in making a decision. His thoughtful, calm demeanor is partnered with his strong convictions and willingness to act. He seeks long-term solutions, facilitates collaboration, engages a network of people around him, and walks his talk.

As a woman leader, I value and rely on my feminine wisdom. I’ve increasingly listened to my intuition as I make decisions, which has helped me in many situations. I value the relationships I have, and nurture them long after the project is finished or the work has ended. I prefer to collaborate rather than work alone. My feminine wisdom shapes who I am and impacts the way I approach my work.

Feminine wisdom is what the world needs and is crying out for in many ways right now. It’s time to value the feminine qualities in our society, and integrate the feminine into every process and assumption we make. It’s time to embrace the power and wisdom of our feminine selves, in partnership with the masculine, and discover what that can mean for business, the world, and each of our lives.

Kimberly Weichel is a social pioneer, educator, author and specialist in global communications, leadership and peacebuilding. She is co-author of “Healing the Heart of the World” and director of the Institute for Peacebuilding.(This article draws from her writing with Karen Buckley of the Wisdom Connection).

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One Comments to “Valuing Feminine Wisdom: An Economic and Social Imperative”
  1. Delfina says:

    Dear Kimberly Weichel…..

    …”its time to value the feminine qualities in our society and integrate the feminine into every process and assumption we make. It’s time to embrace the power and wisdom of our feminine selves, in partnership with the masculine and discover waht that can mean for business, the world and each of our lives…….”

    It is in the same spirit that we are at the early stages of organizing an exposition entitled:

    “Vulva…. the new (real) phallic symbol?”

    The word “Phallus” comes from the ancient greek and it was used to describe paintings and/or carvings…. so when did it happen that it immediately translated into “masculine gentitals = power”?

    Abovementioned exposition should be understood as an essay to recreate a balance between the genders… not equality, I repeat balance…. in order for the ‘feminine’ and the ‘masculine’ to be able to live again in peaceful community… without the oh so daily ‘rapport de force’….

    Artists all over the world shall be requested to create a “piece” representing the meaning of the above… all classifications should be included, plastic arts, paintings, sculpture but also visual, media,music, food, cosmetics, fashion, furniture… everything that influences us on a daily basis…

    The general idea would be that the exposition should start off in Cape Town, the so called “Mother City” to travel the world…

    We would be grateful for any help, advice and/or comment.
    We can be contacted under

    YOurs faithfully
    Delfina von Engels
    *all rights reserved

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