I was telling my friend in Israel that at this point in late-stage patriarchy, it will be up to the women to bring the masculine and feminine into balance.
We’ve had matriarchy, and we’ve had patriarchy (for 5,000 years now), and to have the heaven-on-earth that is possible with us humans, it must be women who move the needle to equity and equality now. Those with the power cannot restore power to the one-down, but they can assist those without power to become empowered, and thus for the first time in human history, the masculine and feminine will be in balance. (More about my Israeli friend later.)
Because men are the ones with the power in the current system of patriarchy, it would be so helpful if you would support us in doing our work at this time in human history. The rest of this article is a stab at what that might look like.
When men talk of change, they create spreadsheets, models, and think tanks. They are efficient at seeing where there is a void in the market and figuring how to produce things to fill that void. Unfortunately, the inspiration for all this production is a financial one—how can we maximize profits and minimize costs.
But what if this masculine skill at producing was inspired and mediated by the goals and sensibilities of women? Instead of just producing more and more, like cancer does, we could think about the intended and unintended consequences of that production and include feminine values in our strategic vision.
For example, if all the seats on Jeff Bezos‘ board were women, wouldn’t Amazon be a different place? Instead of hearing about the hectic and depleting working conditions, maybe we get our packages in two or three days, instead of overnight, and the workers and their families have a better quality of life. Would that likely reduce the cost of mental health treatment, addiction, and illnesses caused by stress?
If Bezos’ decisions were informed by feminine values, maybe his annual net gain of salary and stock might be capped at, say, $100 million. (Calculated by accounting methods created by women, not the tax-avoiding game that is currently the norm.) Anything in excess of that amount would be taxed at 90 percent with deductions taken for any initiatives used to raise repair our damaged society from the unintended consequences of Amazon’s mad efficiency.
Funds could be used to double or triple salaries, or to pay for tuition reimbursement, and to build quality day care onsite. Day care housed in buildings that were as beautiful and modern as the buildings housing the engineers and marketers, and close by so that workers could visit their children on their hour-and-a-half lunches. Or this money could be used to give one-year paid parental leave (for fathers and mothers) so both parents could bond with their children, thereby improving marital relationships, families, and the lives of future adults. (Not to mention, eventually reducing the costs associated with stress and the breakdown of families).
And instead of campuses and buildings designed with only cost in mind, what if a team of women was asked what they wanted in the places they work? They’d probably ask for beautiful rooms with private resting areas and places to nurse their children. Because if there are these spaces, they can return from their breaks relaxed and confident and able to have their full attention on work. And outside, tree-lined paths instead of concrete jungles in which to spend time in nature to think, reflect, and walk and talk. And instead of giant board rooms with meter-long tables and man-sized office chairs, there are lots of small rooms in which to meet; with soft furniture placed close together, conducive to spontaneous meetings and collaborations.
If we treated our humans better at work, the ROI (return on investment) for society would be a net gain instead of the current high price our families, our culture, and the earth now pay for the convenience of shopping 24 hours a day with next-day delivery. With hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers who would be less stressed, wealthier, and have more time to spend with their children, the world would be different overnight.
And outside of the workplace, the influence of the feminine could be so much more valued. When women talk of change, we dream together of having time and resources to raise our children so they will thrive and be healthy, how to have more loving conversations so our relationships feel more satisfying, how to create beautiful things so the world is more pleasant to inhabit, how to love and respect the planet we live on so that human life can continue. We think in terms of the next generation, and the next generations after that.
If our education system included curriculum on emotional intelligence, relationship skills, and conflict resolution, how much would we save from the devastation caused by divorce, domestic violence, drug abuse, and other ills of society caused by an over-reliance on values of the mind and under-reliance on values of the heart?
I’d like to see a world with plenty of spaces for women to think together about our vision for the world. There are too few free public spaces where we can gather to collect our thoughts and dream together. Really, where are the free spaces that are clean, soft, round, and conducive to gathering? Places that support humans who simply want to be without having to buy something or pay for the space.
What if architecture followed the adage “form follows function” and instead of the function being commerce and getting people to buy things (thereby creating roads and shopping malls and factories), we devoted our resources to preserving things for human beings, like trees, trails, and picnic areas?
What if day care was elevated to one of the highest paid jobs in society and when children went to day care, they were cared for by the most competent, creative, and joyous artists and musicians and mothers and fathers. What if there were men present who would mentor the boys and provide role models for girls. What if the artists encouraged their creativity and encouraged them to discover what was special inside them? What kind of adults would that create? What if we paid day care professionals and teachers what we now pay for IT salaries and engineers because of the human capital and sustainability value they create for our future?
And what could women do if they were not stressed out that their children were bored or being mistreated in an understaffed day care center where minimum wage workers were worried about their own survival because of a lack of good pay and benefits?
If women were confident their children were not just having their diapers changed and fed and fights broken up but were confident their offspring were being valued, prized, and encouraged in a group setting that was even richer than what the parent could provide at home, wouldn’t they be free to concentrate on their own passions and connections and creations? And what is the ROI on what can be created when parents are confident, happy, and wildly creative?
And what if, rather than warehousing our elders when they are at the peak of their wisdom years, we somehow paired children and elders; let them delight in each other, let them teach each other, let them play together. Four bubbas in every day care. And if elders were sought out for their wisdom and experience, what mistakes would we not make again, and what values might we learn, what tragedies would be prevented?
I guarantee you, if women had the space, time, and financial resources to get together just to think and dream, we would have already created some of these possibilities. When women gather (who have a vision for a better world gather), we come up with ways to be more humane, more harmonious, more loving. Our ideas are generative—and they create and preserve life.
Men, can you help us? You can do this for us now. Some of you have billions and billions of dollars. The accumulation of which has had an impact on nature and the environment and our quality of life.
Can you build us a village where humans are the most important thing and we can think together about how to fix this untenable mess we are in?
Make us round buildings where we can sit in a circle on soft things and provide us with healthy foods so we can concentrate on what we want for the world. Give us access to your tens of billions so we can turn it into hundreds of more billions in the currency of happiness and human well-being. By well-being, I mean people who are educated, emotionally and socially competent, and connected to their heart as well as their mind. Instead of producing a GDP that is destroying the world, these humans would produce goods and services that enhance life on earth and the people in it.
We can multiply the capital you give us just as we do when you give us a sperm and we make a baby; we can do great things with small things.
Will you build us a village where wisdom and truth and relationships are a priority? A village where prioritizing emotional intelligence is valued, and we get continuous opportunities to teach and learn how to feel our feelings and how to get along.
Do you think this might reduce domestic violence, suicide, homelessness, and the general stress and unhappiness that most people living on earth now experience? Would this provide new, highly paid jobs for the most emotionally competent among us to help humanity move into the possible realities humans are capable of? What a world we could have if we stopped putting the accumulation of wealth and consumption as our top priorities and instead count love and care and children as our highest assets.
This is our opportunity to birth something completely new on planet earth. And as the indigenous elders of the world have said, it is through women that something completely new can be born. Men play the critical role of support and protection during this time; the essential helpers, collaborators, and producers to help make this a better world. Men are brilliant at producing things. Brilliant. What a different world it would be if the inspiration for production was the feminine values of the heart.
To my delight, when I told my orthodox Israeli friend this, she said it was like I was quoting from the Torah. The quote, “In the merit of righteous women we were taken out of Egypt,” and that the future redemption of humanity will be because of the influence of righteous women.
She had never heard this said in lay terms, and we delighted in the coming together of our worlds. I do not understand anything about the Torah, but when she said this, my heart skipped a beat.
If by righteous women, it means connecting to the feminine values of the heart and using those values to guide the masculine desire and skill to produce, then maybe, just maybe, this will be the way we reverse the suicide mission we are currently on, and we will preserve human life on this planet.