At this year's Golden Globes, a legion of women showed up wearing black. This was a strong statement of solidarity with their sisters in and out of the industry who had suffered abuse in relationship with powerful men. Many of these bullies had breached the boundaries of professionalism. The worst offenders breached the physical ones.
I grew up in a single-parent household with a mother who was an entrepreneur. Her spirit animal is the tiger. We became a split-family home and she acquired her strength and power by confronting my father and his behavior and ending a dysfunctional marriage. I was still quite young at the time but I never remember having a single worry about money. I only learned later in life the enormous challenges she had to overcome in order to set her two sons up for success.
The Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner said that the most creative women have embraced their masculine energy and the most creative men, their feminine. By extension, weaker men over use their masculine traits. My mother, in a momentous moment of self-respect, expressed her masculine energy and made it more possible for my brother and I to access our feminine. We both ended up in creative pursuits as a result.
The world might not be in crisis but she is under much stress. The carrying capacity of the natural environment is crumbling as are many of the social structures required to support high levels of quality of life for generations to come. This is not a socialist rant. It's a practical assessment of what's required for enduring prosperity. More women in positions of power and more men actively embracing their suppressed feminine traits (like respect and empathy) means a better economy, a better society and a better environment.
The empowerment of women is a cause we all need to support. Empowerment of people, regardless of gender, does require the harnessing of more masculine traits like ambition and strong purpose.
One such person at the front-line of this movement is Rachel Mielke who is using her business Hillberg & Berk to "empower women one sparkle at a time." Rachel is powerful in the same way my mother was as an entrepreneur. Her vision is to create such a successful jewelry business that she can use a significant portion of her proceeds to fund initiatives that unleash the contributions of women, not just in Canada, but globally. And it's not just women who change in her presence. The men in world also get to sparkle a bit more. The pay off is that every one in her world is more creative and it's that creativity that we need to solve the problems of a complex world.
We could use a lot more assertive men and women to change our world for the better. We don't need more aggressive men. We also don't need to make men more submissive just to allow the rise of women and feminine energy in the workplace. Yin and Yang. Both.