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20 October 2015
Wise Women Will Save the World
I’m a man, and if I have a single shred of wisdom it’s to know deep down that, as a global cohort, men are not going to turn this ship around. If they were, why have they allowed the ship to sail for so long in the wrong direction? The one-word answer is patriarchy. But you already knew that. Unfortunately, most men don’t even acknowledge its existence.
I’m trying to do something about that. My tiny contribution is an emerging online community called Wise Women Will Save the World (http://ow.ly/DmWEi) which I am co-founding with my wife, Jennifer. The initiative is based on a single belief, that Earth’s greatest source of renewable energy is the untapped potential of a billion daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers.
The core concept popped into my head over a year ago, as I was ‘connecting the dots’ around the root cause of wicked global problems. I kept ending up at the MBBT – the Men Behaving Badly Thing. (Especially when it’s combined with an MBA, an MBBT can be a nasty piece of work.) Around the time of this research, I was also up close and personal to Jennifer’s own empowering transformation; having raised three children, she returned to study and completed a Masters Degree in Visual Arts, placing her in a much better position to pursue her passion as a painter and mixed media artist.
To the above I added a stack of insights from deep thinkers and inspiring leaders such as Gloria Steinem, Naomi Klein and Leymah Gbowee. Then a few ingredients began to emerge, useful for nudging us away from patriarchy. Here’s the ‘What, Why and How’ behind the initiative.
What is Wise Women Will Save the World?
- It is an online platform boosting the collective capacity of women to understand and influence global issues.
- It is women creating a shared intelligence and consciousness around our world’s most sensitive and divisive problems.
- It is women packaging complex messages into a creative, entertaining format.
- It is highly committed women inspiring disengaged women into action.
The initiative aims to develop a global cohort of women possessing a contemporary form of wisdom and expertise. Relevant traits include:
- A high level of consciousness, related to a deep connection with humanity and nature
- A leadership approach based on the naturally feminine values of empathy, humility, collaboration and inclusiveness
- The ability to tackle complexity in a holistic manner, via systems thinking
- Expertise in behaviour change and the psychology of influence
- A passion for creative communication and non-linear, artistic forms of expression
- Expertise in trans-cultural and trans-national communication
Why is there a need for Wise Women Will Save the World?
A growing influence from the global cohort of women has the potential to transform patriarchal systems. Currently, the collective influence of women is less than it could be, because many are disengaged from the processes of transformation. We believe this disengagement is a natural response to the growing anxiety and uncertainty surrounding complex environmental and human problems. Understandably, people who feel they can’t cope with a problem turn away and allow themselves to be distracted – it is the path of least resistance. Anyone wishing to influence these disengaged people must compete for attention with all these distractions. That’s a task for Wise Women.
How will Wise Women Save the World?
We aim to develop an inspiring, educational, online platform that creatively untangles the complexity of global problems in ways that empower more women to exert greater influence and leadership around issues of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Our platform will enable women to enhance their own wisdom attributes, then use that wisdom to spread their influence, engage the disengaged, and inspire more women to rise up.
The initiative will combine humanity’s greatest point of leverage – the untapped potential of girls and women – with other key points of leverage:
- Women in the diaspora provide us with an existing cultural and spiritual infrastructure permeating national, ethnic and religious groups. They are the closest thing we have to global citizens.
- The social justice and environmental movements are very fragmented. A very smart body of women within these movements will rapidly increase their alignment.
- The huge spending and investing power of women empowers them to reward the ethical and punish the unethical.
- Mobile digital technology empowers women to communicate with each other in anonymous ways that can bypass masculine filters of ‘command and control’.
- The culture of free online sharing puts women just a click away from tools and insights that could help break their silence, connect them to support, or show them how to start softening a culture of hate.
Over many years, Jennifer and I have been involved in pursuits that range across education, corporate communication plus the visual and performing arts. We’ve experienced first hand how highly creative and artistic forms of expression can connect people more deeply with a given issue, than is the case when a message is conveyed via a bland, linear, fact-based or text-heavy approach. As a result, we believe we have a ‘feel’ for the type of messaging that can engage growing numbers of people … creative concepts that make sense of complex issues, then translate that sense into influential communication that elicits a deep empathic response.
To this point, we have been creating and assembling the foundations of the Wise Women platform as a labour of love. However, we’re now in somewhat of a holding pattern as we seek financial support to take the concept further. Here’s a link to our prospectus, just in case you know someone who may be able to steer us towards an enthusiastic backer!