Unbalanced

I’ve been really interested lately in feminine energy, expression and presence, and how this plays itself out in the workplace. Brass Scales 3D ConceptMore accurately, how it doesn’t play itself out in the workplace. Why is this? Because we still function in a work world unbalanced, in terms of structure, behavior and mindset. Which is a bit odd, given the fact that in the US, over 57% of working age women are in the labor force. Slightly over 70% of those women have children under the age of 18.*

I recently posted two blogs to The Huffington Post on the topic. One dealt with the challenge working women face when they choose not to express the expected, masculine-based attitudes and behaviors at work. The other probed how common business language is tipped toward traditionally masculine terms, and how that colors the ways business approaches markets, customers and employees.

I have to admit that this is still nascent work for me. Exploring masculine-feminine expression goes well beyond a discussion of men and women at work. It taps into the very way we approach what it means to be a professional, how we present ourselves to others and what we believe is expected to succeed. It gets to the heart of the structures we create and support in our lives.

What does it mean to be a working woman these days? Is it about leaning in, walking away, re-invention or having it all? To me, it’s unclear. What is clear are the voices of many women I have known throughout my career – woman who want to fulfill the dream of a rich, balanced life but find themselves making choices that fit as comfortably as a too-small shoe. It may look good on the outside but it hurts like hell.

As long as we keep finding ourselves in work structures that laud masculine friendly definitions of success, behavior and achievement, we will promulgate an unbalanced view of business life. I don’t mean to say that the masculine friendly view has no value, far from it. But cleaving to any approach too long is unwise. And please, do not think I am assuming these attributes and characteristics are solely the provenance of one sex or another. It is the free and balanced expression of masculine and feminine energy I speak of – not men vs. women.

Now is the time to ask questions. Questions about the win-lose choices working women and men feel they have to make to properly operate within an unbalanced model. Questions about why feminine attributes of cooperation, sharing, compassion and humility are not valued in equal footing. Questions about why, just why, we don’t start making small yet powerful changes in our everyday places of work.

Questions about how much longer we want to be unbalanced.

* US Bureau of Labor Statistics, published April 2013, data as of 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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