At the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama said: “The world will be saved by the Western woman.”
What exactly was #14 getting at when he said this? Did he just get carried away by the moment because he was surrounded by a group of powerful changemaking women — three Nobel Peace Prize winners amongst them? Or was there something more to it?
Personally, when it comes to saving the world, I refer to Chapter 29 of Tao Te Ching:
“The world is sacred. It can’t be improved. If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.”
I’m pretty sure the world does not need saving. Buddhism and Taoism being cousins, I’m guessing the Dalai Lama also didn’t mean it quite in that way. The world’s gonna do just fine, thank you very much, Concerned Humans.
Humans, on the other hand, may need some help. They’re really good at self-inflicted mayhem and destruction: war, nuclear weapons, pollution, global warming, deforestation, type II diabetes, electing ill-coiffed politicians.
These are big problems, but not insoluble ones given some good leadership. It turns out that a slew of new studies show that a particular class of people make for better leaders: women.
I am not making this stuff up. One study shows that on nearly all measures of leadership, women outdo men. And if you think it’s just on the feminine, nurturance-related side of stuff, here’s a quote:
“The majority of people we talk with make the assumption that women will excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork. The chart above demonstrates that these competencies are more positive for women. But those competencies with the largest positive differences are taking initiative, displaying integrity and honesty, and driving for results. These are not nurturing competencies.
These competencies highlight that women were seen as more effective in getting things done, being role models and delivering results. These skills describe leaders who take on difficult challenges, ensure that people act with integrity, and who simply achieve challenging results.”
I’m all for effective leadership. Especially when it comes to government, the environment, and health. Y’know, the stuff that makes decent living and good blueberries possible.
I’m also reading a fascinating book, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves, by superstar primatologist Frans De Waal (ebook & print). In it, he makes the salient point that across all mammalian species, the females are more empathetic than the males. Including humans. Probably because of their central role in child-rearing.
It’s true that this means female leaders are more likely to favor cooperation and negotiation instead of war, which is already a plus. But it’s also true that female leaders will on average be better than male leaders at empathizing with and understanding their charges and adversaries. That’s a big advantage, ’cause that’s what leadership is all about: deeply understanding the people you’re dealing with.
So here’s my interpretation of what the Dalai Lama said in Toronto in 2009:
Women make great leaders. Western women, in particular, have access to education, income, and voting rights. That means they have power. And their hearts are already in the right place when it comes to social good (with some exceptions, like Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama, who signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion bill of the USA in May 2019). Therefore they’re in a great position to effect positive change.
Could you be one of those women? Well, if you’re reading this article, you probably are. And that’s rather fortuitous.
Because one of my not-so-secret agendas is to get 10,000 Progressive women to run for some kind of office. In America to start, but preferably all over the world. Short of that, I’d like to get some potent public speaking tools in your hands to help you do great things.
That’s why I’m holding another one of my webinars for you. On 4 separate dates this week, actually.
I will definitely talk about the 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking. But for most of the 75min, I’ll also be giving you a whole framework for effective public speaking. Whether you want to ask for a raise, win your case in court, raise money for your startup, inspire the next generation to do great things, ask someone out on a date, or just win an election, these skills should come in handy.
There are exactly 50 spots available on this new webinar platform I’m using. So if you’d like to snag a spot, I suggest you do it sooner rather than later.
And show up. Four times you can show up this week:
- Tuesday, 9 July, 12pm PDT/3pm EDT/20.00 London
- Wednesday, 10 July, 5pm PDT/8pm EDT/1am London/8am Sydney
- Thursday, 11 July, 12pm PDT/3pm EDT/20.00 London
- Friday, 12 July, 2pm PDT/8pm EDT/1am London/8am Sydney
Can this call change your life? And your world? Only if you want it to change :)
Go forth and conquer,