In the News (Foreign Policy): “For the first time in history, the inner chambers of global leadership may go genuinely coed. …
“Pundits who dare to prognosticate over whether these leaders will each bring a distinctive, somehow more female approach to matters of war and peace, trade, policing, or public welfare do so at their peril. They risk stepping in a minefield of stereotypes and preconceptions that history’s shortlist of female heads of major states — Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Benazir Bhutto — have already defied. But research and theory suggest that once women attain a loosely defined “critical mass” of representation — generally accepted as between 20 and 30 percent — within institutions and decisional bodies, their influence grows perceptibly. This idea originated with Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who in her seminal 1977 article, “Some Effects of Proportions on Group Life: Skewed Sex Ratios and Responses to Token Women,” postulated that when women exceed one-third of a group they can form coalitions, provide mutual support, and reshape the group’s overall culture. The research suggests that the relatively sudden potential presence of a critical mass — a collective of women — simultaneously leading some of the West’s most powerful countries and institutions has the potential to reshape at least certain aspects of how global business gets done. …
“Amid these challenges, it is tempting to hope — and there is some evidence to indicate — that this cohort of female leaders may turn to one another as a source of solidarity, forging effective partnerships that translate into policy results. Betsy Polk and Maggie Ellis Chotas have written a book arguing that when women team up professionally they can achieve greater confidence, flexibility, and accountability than is attainable in other working relationships. Across multiple academic disciplines, research confirms that women tend to be more open to teamwork than men. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed that women are more amenable to collaboration, partly because they tend to underestimate their abilities and overrate those of peers, whereas men are more likely to conclude that they can best get ahead by working on their own. A psychological study conducted by University of Toronto scholars concluded that women favor teamwork whereas men prefer hierarchy. In the U.S. Senate, where there are more women than ever before — 20, to be exact — many legislators have noted that cooperation among women has delivered some of the few accomplishments of a largely polarized and hamstrung
Congress, including the 2013 deal that ended the third-longest government shutdown in history. In a 2013 ABC News interview, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) credited Senate women with surmounting an ‘us-against-them’ mentality saying: ‘I think by nature we are less confrontational and more collaborative…. We actually work together, Republicans and Democrats, and women, to try to look at solving the problem rather than just going political points.’
“Whether the impetus toward collaboration is innately stronger among women, or the ephemeral product of an empathy-driven outreach among those who identify with other members of a historically marginalized group, may not matter … If a posse of female leaders proves even marginally better at communicating, coordinating, and compromising with one another, even for a short while, the international dividends could be great. …
“Over more than 20 years, the critical mass theory of women’s leadership has been debated by scholars and analysts and served as the basis for implementing gender-based quotas and affirmative action programs. In the coming years, our front pages may tell us more than all the theories about whether and what difference having women at the top really makes.”
My Comment: Women are undoubtedly more inclined to teamwork, mutual support, and the aspiration to reach agreement instead of conflicts than men are.
But it is the “iron lady” who reaches the top, and what is typical of women who hold lower positions is totally atypical of those who reach the highest positions. They are “real men” and have all the typical characteristics of men: authoritative, tough, etc.
There may be a short matriarchal period, but then men will still have to engage in correcting their ego including the female part.