I Have a Dream. Do you?

In January 2015 there were 7.2 billion people living on our planet. Of these, around 3.6 billion are women. Can you imagine what the world would look like if all the seven billion contributed with all their different strengths in collaborating to the well-being of the population; the creation of wealth; the practice of strong principles and values; education; the development of science and technology; the creation of beauty, the free participation in building their own and their family lives, that of their communities and of the Earth at large?

This is my dream.

I know it can seem naïve when expressed bluntly, within a context of permanent war and violence, displacement of masses of people all over the world, burglaries, slavery, and all sorts of crimes happening everywhere today. Nevertheless, it has been historically proved that this violence is decreasing and life condition of masses of people is improving.

That is why I keep this dream and nurture it.

Larry Page, one the founders of Google, was invited as the keynote speaker in a newly founded educational institution.  He stepped into the podium, greeted everyone and immediately after that, he asked the audience: “Are you working on something that can change the world?” There was silence and some people looked around, probably feeling some discomfort.

Have you have ever asked yourself this question? If you have not, I invite you to stop reading and ask yourself what you spend almost your whole waking hours on. My bet is that few people find a dream they are passionate about and devote their lives to it, turning it into their service to the world and their business. And I am sure that within these few, most of them are men.

If you are a woman, you have probably been covertly conditioned to think small, and not to dream about how you can serve the world. You have been taught to believe that you have the extremely important role of caring for your immediate environment: get married; have children to care for, nurture, and protect; be a loving wife and a good companion for your husband. That is it, and you are probably extremely busy. If the family needs more money or if you are not willing to throw away your profession, you will still have the same obligations as before, plus your work. No wonder you will probably feel stressed and overwhelmed, and you will ask yourself, more than once, “whoever made me do this?”

Almost half a century ago, my father asked me if I wanted to continue studying after high school. When I told him I would become an engineer he frowned, lifted his index finger and said “Listen to me, daughter, that’s a very bad idea. You will probably find a nice young man during your second year at the University, you will marry him, leave your studies, and another nice boy will have missed an opportunity to really become an engineer”. I became an engineer, I got married, had two children, worked all the time, and life became quite overwhelming while raising the kids.

You might think that things have changed after so many years. I am also a coach since 1991, and this is what I continue practicing now. Last year (2014), one of my female clients discovered that she just could not say “I want to be a leader”. It was like revealing something that was forbidden to her. If she showed that she is developing her career and is becoming a leader at her job, it would be seen as a demonstration of arrogance, and she could not allow that to herself.

Actually, women might have some more leadership possibilities today than forty years ago. Nevertheless, I think we need to speed things up. Our organizations cannot continue to be managed the way they were more than 100 years ago, when F. Taylor multiplied productivity by a factor of thousands, and M. Weber developed the concept of bureaucracy which allowed this new way of production to be organized and managed. Several factors do not allow the world to continue this form of production. As an example, look at the acceleration of change, which demands very fast decision-making, with information which cannot be centralized at the required speed. This means that every person in an organization must become a decision maker. What a change that one issue will be able to produce! Remember: the female mind can see things the male cannot observe, and vice – versa. All human groups require leadership of men and women!

I invite you to share my dream and align our efforts to change the world by:

  1. Using the differences between men and women’s  biology to enrich diversity of viewpoints and aspirations, and heighten our collective creativity and capacity for innovation
  2. Using the advances in neuroscience to “reprogram” (learn) women’s and men’s “unconscious mind”, which is thousands of times more effective than the “conscious mind” in producing results, many of them unwanted
  3. Seeing and hearing women’s presence and voice just as much as men’s in the public world and reciprocating in the private world
  4. Multiplying women’s presence in leadership positions in boards, higher management  and government
  5. Training  and coaching women and men to overcome their fears and to learn new skills that will enable them to share more of their respective worlds

Sally Bendersky
Contributing author to the #1 International Best-selling book series, “Pebbles in the Pond”

February 13, 2015


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