The Future Ought To Be Female
Watching The Crown this past week, specifically Margaret Thatcher’s inauguration as prime minister of Britain, and becoming increasingly disillusioned at how backwards, how Neanderthal we are in America (still) when it comes to female leadership.
At least 79 countries have had a female leader and Jake Tapper had the audacity to joke about Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, becoming the first ever “Second Dude?” He apologized. But it stayed with me. A senior American journalist acted like a nine-year-old because we associate female leadership with their husbands’ emasculation.
I’m here to tell you friends, women can lead and should lead. More.
My wife is a brilliant leader. She’s a stay-at-home mom for now but she ran a team of 22 people with efficiency AND compassion. (While pregnant!) She worked on extremely sensitive projects and roadmapped products with Menlo Park executives. She was cherished by her team and her superiors. Not to mention she runs our busy family & home life with incredible ease and success. She contemplates every aspect of every decision… which I love, because it frees me up to get lost in documentary and mystic philosophy.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work with several genius women collaborators in my career. (This sounds almost stupid to type out because it’s so obvious to me but it seems necessary:) They have created marketing strategies as bulletproof and as sophisticated as anyone. They maintain harmonious working relationships with clients — which generates a pretty decent amount of income where I work. A few of my female colleagues in particular are unbelievably prepared for every meeting, every engagement… considerably more so than I am, and most other male colleagues.
Wake up America.
Like most white men I’ve talked to, there was some real reflection this year, and a couple of moments carried some … lack of pride … in my white male-ness. Don’t worry too much about me here … the best of the white men of history are philosophers, innovators, and authors — so I have a few solid ideals to work towards — but the point is that white men colonized the world and took advantage of billions of women and people of color. Like this old political cartoon from 1911:
But now… writing this today, I fully see my gender and racial heritage as an opportunity to megaphone on behalf of women and people of color.
White men make up most positions of power in this country and a lot of the developed world. And they listen to themselves. So if you are one: Advocate.
Write a strong recommendation letter for a female colleague applying for the next phase of her career.
Highlight an accomplishment of a person of color in your next group meeting with leadership. (And do it sincerely, not for ‘the sake of’.)
Show your white son paintings by Frida Kahlo. Read him James Baldwin.
And help change the tide of awareness, of the skills and capabilities of the non-white-men on planet earth.
We had some nice moments, but some not great ones too.
Let’s share the mic.