Casually typing the words “women should” into my Google Chrome browser yields some very interesting predictive text results: 1. women shouldn’t 2. women should not vote 3. women should not work 4.women should stay at home 5. women shouldn’t vote 6. women should be seen not heard. Thinking this is probably due to some saved cookies in my browser or something else I asked my wife, Otae, to type the some words into her browser and yes you guessed it, it yielded the exact same results. Typing “men should” left me with no predictive results. I could only conclude that not many people are searching for ways to boss men around. However, I am not going to get into Google’s algorithm of sexism or gender bias, I will leave that to the “women should ads”. What I wish to share is the place I feel women can take in society from my experience in various roles.
While, I don’t necessarily believe we need more women in leadership, in whatever spheres of society, what we do need is good leadership regardless of gender: Leadership that has the vision to see a better world and the discipline and resilience to inspire us to get there. There should be no place for winner-take-all views when it comes to the gender debate because everyone takes opposing views depending on where they stand in relation to the status quo. What is important is individual talent and how it can enrich the corporate structures we work in.
What has society lost while the gender debate has raged on? It seems in my view that even when oppressive policies like slavery or apartheid were in place, both black and white men oppressed women at work and at home, which brings us to what goes on in a marriage since it is a common institution. Many men still want to assert some unfounded authority (over women) even if they lack the skills to make certain decisions. So the talents and experience women bring into a marriage become wasted assets as men let their egos get in the way of mutual success.
When I started ES Capital Partners, I did it because I realised that any success in an artistic career depends on a strong corporate structure. But a few years into trying to run my own company and grow as an artist I started spreading myself too thin until Otae joined me. Within six months of working together it became clear that our company and my career as a singer-songwriter would grow faster if she took the reins of the company. I could have been stereotypical and opposed to the fact that my wife is the best person for the job but that would not have taken us anywhere especially when she is wired for leadership and her skill-set and experience position her to be the best person to realise our company’s vision.
A case in point is when she presented a workshop specially for me last Saturday on writing white papers as part of our consultancy offering to organisations and corporates. She was so well prepared and professional it didn’t matter that I was the only one present or that I am her husband. I was highly impressed by her content and presentation style. Since our personalities go to work with us, I believe that the place of my #SmartWoman is right here by side and if she has the desire, skills and determination to lead, then that’s her place.
Till the next time,
Reposted from www.escp.co.za