Battle Between the Sexes

As the title suggests, there might be another layer to the U.S.A. Presidential elections, namely the battle of the sexes. Whatever your political ideologies or whether you are even remotely interested in the elections, you can’t help but have noticed the war raging between Clinton and Trump.

clintontrump-forbes
Forbes

I have to show my colours and say that I think it will be cataclysmic to the human race should Trump win the election. It will undoubtedly send ripples throughout the world and affect each one of us directly or indirectly.

I have mused over the possibility that there might be another layer or reality to this pantomime. Trump represents a small group of men with beliefs that should be banished from the planet. It is not in keeping with what we should tolerate in 21st century.

According to Trump, women are fair game. What I find fascinating is that Trump leads Clinton in the vote for men whereas Clinton leads the vote among women. Therefore, should Trump lose, it will be because women voted against him. I would struggle to understand why women wouldn’t do so given the values by which he lives.

trump-newsweek
Newsweek

I am intrigued by the fact that Trump gets the majority of the male votes. What does this say about the American male population, I ask myself? I can hear the comments that no doubt suggest that it is too simplistic and this may very well be true. Furthermore, a smaller percentage of men vs women believe that Clinton would use good judgment in a crisis.

It is true to say that Trump has turned the political establishment upside down and ran a hyper-masculine campaign, making reference to women’s physical looks, passing comments about his own genitalia, as if that would be of interest to the voting population or make a difference to being President! To top it all, suggesting one women’s tough questioning was to be attributed to her menstrual cycle. How passé.

clinton-usapolitcsnow
usapoliticsnow

It is reminiscent of my experiences and research into the emotive debate around women vs men in organizational leadership. Women have had to battle many cultural scripts expecting them to be both feminine and tough enough to represent the values of a commander in chief, whether of an organization or a country. Men have it a lot easier and there does not appear to be the same tension between empathy, compassion and toughness and being hard-hitting when necessary.

It is painfully obvious that business remains largely the playground of men designed by men for men, particularly at the senior levels of organizations. It is a statistical fact that diversity stops at the boardroom.

We just have to observe the senior population of most businesses to see that they are mainly comprised of pinstripe suited white males. Women continue to make up less than 10% of the senior management population. The result is that the characteristics associated with women aren’t valued nor reflecting the values expected with leadership.

The consequence is that hierarchy is perceived as the domain of men and masculine values are given higher status than that of feminine values. A further possible stumbling block preventing women from fulfilling their potential is our collusion with the myth that women are inferior to men.

We are socialized to be ‘nice girls’ and to be demure and compliant rather than competitive; men on the other hand are encouraged to be brash and demanding. The Clinton vs Trump battle has highlighted this very clearly.

In our book, Rethinking Coaching: Critical Theory and the Economic Crisis, my co-author and I argue, based on research and experience, that the crisis in the banking sector once again raises questions of the male-dominated model of leadership and its rules and regulations that continue to shape institutions.

Michel Ferrary, Professor at CERAM Business School in France, calls for management to be ‘feminized’, on the grounds that an improved gender balance could play a significant role in tempering the culture of risk-taking that has dominated the financial sector hitherto and that has gone unchecked.

Alas, it is a controversial argument that will no doubt continue to be debated long after my lifespan. Why shouldn’t it, it has raged for many years and women are no closer to being equally represented at the senior levels of many of our institutions. However, back to the Presidential race….

Whatever the outcome of the election, I think together with Brexit, it has proved that politics are not likely to be the same again.

 

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