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10 Reasons why you should Lead Like a Feminist

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Are you angry about injustice? Frustrated with lack of progress? Scared about our future?

Here’s ten reasons why you should join me on my journey to explore what it means to Lead Like A Feminist:

1. You feel powerless

Feminist leadership replaces the idea of the single, idealised, heroic leader with the reality that we all need to be involved in leadership for our society to thrive. Leading Like a Feminist starts by recognising that our power comes from other people, our ability to unlock their potential and help them to do the same for others. When we work together towards a shared purpose, we become powerful.

2. You’re striving to change the status quo

If we want to change the power structures and dynamics that currently shape our world we need approaches that explicitly set out to do just that. We can’t assume that leadership models that have helped to maintain the current system for decades and that have been developed by those who have thrived within them will do the job.

3. You’re pursuing social justice

Social justice, simply put, means that each of us has an equal opportunity to realise our full potential. It is only possible when individuals and communities have the power to shape their lives. Feminist leadership in its many forms is explicitly about redistribution of power and responsibility in a way that is inclusive, participatory and mindful of issues of gender, race, social class, sexual orientation and ability.

4. You’re working across cultural contexts or on global issues

Feminist leadership is the only “mainstream” leadership approach I have come across that has been pioneered by the Global South and used in the Global North. Many dominant models are rooted in Western philosophy and values that are often not shared by non-Western collaborators. Feminist leadership is a starting point for building equal partnership rather than one group imposing their world view and priority set onto another.

5. You want to innovate

The dominance of Western philosophy and values biases our international systems and institutions towards a Western world view and priority set. This not only makes it harder for those from a non-Western background to interact with and benefit from these leadership spaces but means that a significant body of learning about how we can and should live together remains underutilised. If we are to overcome global challenges we need global principles and points of reference that combine the best of human thought in all its diversity.

6. You’re deeply concerned about climate change

Feminist leadership is a collective effort, in contrast to other mainstream models that emphasise the heroism and authority of the individual leader. This shifts the focus away from short termism and towards a sustainable future. It also tends to share power and its benefits across a wider group of people, rather than concentrating power, wealth and influence around a small number of people and their priorities.

7. You hate all the leadership training you’ve been to

A feminist approach to leadership explicitly recognises that our understanding of leadership has been shaped by the patriarchal systems in which it emerged. This often manifests as blaming marginalised individuals or groups for their perceived leadership failings- focusing on building their confidence and skills rather than removing the barriers that hold them back. Feminist leadership recognises and tackles the systematic biases that make it harder for those groups to lead.

8. You want to find solutions that work for as many people as possible

Feminist leadership focuses on building consensus and places a high value on building a cohesive community. In contrast, dominant leadership models tend to overvalue reason at the expense of other sources of knowledge valued more highly within other paradigms, such as the wisdom or perception gained from lived experience. This overemphasis on logic can lead to polar debates, focused on winning the argument, that often leave one group feeling alienated and unheard.

9. You’re passionate about using technology to create positive change

The current focus on using technology to solve the world’s problems will only deliver social justice if we make similar innovations around leadership and governance. Without big leaps forward in how we cooperate, we will fail to realise the full benefits of the technology we create and may only exacerbate existing inequality- leaving the most marginalised even further behind.

10. You want to build a better future

We are living at a time of great political and social upheveal. It is in these moments of history that new ways of thinking can emerge. If we can innovate in how we lead we will find that our policies and interventions are more effective. Critical blind spots will not be missed and investments will benefit a wider range of people in a more meaningful way. Large investments that have already been made in science and technology could reap their full reward and be harnessed towards realising social justice.

Are you with me?

Follow Lead Like A Feminist for more.


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