The New Era of Women

I came across ancient predictions from civilizations as far apart as Meso-America and Asia that point to 2010 as the beginning of an inevitable transition from the Era of Man, which has extended back some 5000 years, to a new, more embracing, more human era: The Era of Woman.

A proliferation of patriarchal societies defined the Era of Man. It established hierarchies that gave preference of power, status, and resources to men. The Era created an enormous capacity for invention, material wealth, scientific awareness, technology, inspired art and architecture. It is also an Era where we have seen corruption, violation of human rights, genocide, proliferation of wars, world poverty, preemptive strikes, environmental degradation, sex slave trade, torture, terrorism. And oppression of women.

The Era of Man defined itself as power over others, a social philosophy of domination that is now deeply intrenched in human society. For men, intoxicated with fruits of male-dominated society, ceding that power will be difficult, but necessary. It is necessary because The Era of Man created a world seriously out balance, a world in which macho is lauded as the norm in leadership. It is also a world ill-equipped to tackle the complex challenges we now face.

“Rugged individualism,” “frontier mentality,” are phrases we in America take great pride in as it defined the way this country built itself and led us to great heights of science and technology. However, now they are anachronisms that colored the meaning of leadership, rewarding the arrogant and aggressive. Under macho leadership, individualism has morphed to self-interest, ambition to avarice, success to prosperity of the few, at the expense of others. These are not the qualities that will succeed in dealing with global warming, the energy crisis, and global terrorism, for example. In this world, collaboration is the path to the future, and collaboration is the heart of the Era of Woman. The Era of Woman will restore balance to the meaning of leadership and the meaning of power.

In thinking about the Era of Woman, I’m not talking about those women who disconnected from their feminine side and “became men” as a way of acquiring power, bought into a domination game and exerted their power over others. In making it to the top, and often on their own with little support, many of these women, rather than leaving a positive mark on the organizational culture, have reinforced behaviors and values that have historically subordinated women. As often the token woman or trailblazers, they understandably often succumbed to peer pressure.

That’s why I think of the Era of Woman as really the Era of Women, because when women stand together, and more women are at the power table, they are better able to hold onto their perspective and their wisdom. In the Era of Women, feminine power is found in a community of women, one that includes men. Nature shows us that in the battle for collective survival, working together is a winning strategy. Iron Butterflies, a phrase I use to describe women who bring a balance of masculine and feminine values and behaviors to their leadership, are joining together to ward off and redirect the impulses of aggression locally and globally; they search for common ground and are bushwhacking their way to what it means to be a community of global citizens. They are the leaders of the future, as are men who strike the same balance.

The Era of Women ushers in a time for high touch, for right brain, for the feminine aspects of our psyche to come fully into play. These qualities, which have kept women out of the mainstream of leadership, are now the very same qualities that empower them to lead. Now is the time to actualize the power of feminine skills, such as empathy, a holistic way of thinking, relational intelligence, bridge-building, in both men and women, and to recognize these skills for the strengths that they actually are.

When we embrace feminine skills as powerful, we bring balance to the world by igniting a feminine consciousness. When feminine consciousness is engaged we think about our children’s future for seven generations ahead, as do the Native American Mohawks; we think about community and the common good; we think about living in a way that does not harm Mother Earth; we think of ways of learning from each other and working together globally to find better solutions to common problems; we think of waging peace through education and health care rather than waging wars and developing nuclear arms; we think of healing the wounds of trauma inflicted by a domination approach.

In the Era of Women, leaders need to be healers.


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16 Responses to “The New Era of Women”

  1. Raymond Hawley says:

    EXACTLY Birute, check this out:

  2. shawnhcorey says:

    I’m reading from Australia and I would agree! So we have a new Prime Minister in Australia, Julia Gillard. Yes, Julia. Our first female PM!

    • I love Australia, would live there if it was so far away! One of my favorite Iron Butterflies is Ricky Burges from Perth. And I did give two thumbs up on my facebook to Julia Gillard; love seeing the first female Prime Minister

  3. Colleen Winters says:

    Our way of life
    has hardly changed
    since a wheel first
    whetted a knife.

    Maybe flame
    burns more greedily
    and wheels are steadier,
    but we’re the same:

    we milestone
    our lives
    with oversights,
    living by the lights
    of the loaf left

    by the cash register,
    the washing powder
    paid for and wrapped,
    the wash left wet:

    like most historic peoples
    we are defined
    by what we forget

    and what we never will be:
    It’s our alibi
    for all time:

    as far as history goes
    we were never
    on the scene of the crime.

    When the king’s head
    gored its basket,
    grim harvest,
    we were gristing bread

    or getting the recipe
    for a good soup.
    It’s still the same:

    our windows
    moth our children
    to the flame
    of hearth not history.

    And still no page
    scores the low music
    of our outrage.

    Appearances reassure:
    that woman there,
    craned to
    the starry mystery,

    is merely getting a breath
    of evening air.
    While this one here,
    her mouth a burning plume –

    she’s no fire-eater,
    just my frosty neighbour
    coming home.

  4. development1 says:

    Check out New Era of Female CEOs – I thought it was cool –

  5. levibluewa says:

    Who’s got power?
    Who’s got juice?
    Who’s got the money?
    It’s a woman’s world… Monty Python anyone?

  6. Wayne says:

    Social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus are attributes considered valuable today to succeed in the workplace and in life. And women have the edge in these skills…

    • I think that’s right. Because of social, biological, and psychological reasons women on the average tend to be more relational. Having said that, men can learn deep listening skills, can express empathy and care, can make efforts to be inclusive and collaborative. This is men’s growing edge toward a greater inner balance, something both men and women seek.

  7. TJ77 says:

    American parents are beginning to choose to have girls over boys. SERIOUSLY

    • Do you mean in terms of adoption? That may be because of China’s one-child policy and the hundred of thousands of girls that have been abandoned, aborted, or missing because of the preference to have a boy baby.