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Should Women Rule the World?

January 17, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 135

At 31, Dee Dee Myers became one of the youngest White House press secretaries in history. She was also the first woman.

Whether due to her age, gender, or experience, the job offered to Myers came with less authority and a smaller office. She was still able to demonstrate her capabilities, staying with the job for two years. During that time she told the president she needed appropriate access and authority to show what she could do - and she got it.

Myers' book, Why Women Should Rule the World, talks about the differences in how men and women approach their lives and their work. She suggests that our world would be a better place, with a stronger economy and more effective institutions, if the upper echelons of organizations were filled with many more women.

The book recounts many of Myers' own experiences, along with other women who have held positions of power. It is also grounded in research.

Studies have confirmed that men and women have brains that operate differently. Men have larger brain areas controlling action and aggression. They brains also devote more than twice as much space to sex drive than women's brains. All brains have two halves. In women, these halves tend to be somewhat less specialized and there is a stronger connection between the two halves.

There are genetic differences in the way boys and girls act and react. Within 24 hours of birth, Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cambridge University in England saw distinct differences between the reactions of males and females. When shown a mechanical mobile and a human face, girls almost always preferred the face, while boys spent more time looking at the mechanical object. Another study shows that this trend is also exhibited in infant monkeys. When given a choice of human toys, male monkeys prefer trucks and the females choose dolls much more often.

At an early age, boys can be up to 50 times more competitive, while girls tend to be much more cooperative. Boys will often look for an "adversary" in their games. Girls generally prefer games that involve nurturing. They also take turns much more often, even at an early age. These trends continue in later life. Women use conversations to develop and maintain relationships. What they discuss is often not as important as the fact that they are communicating. Men prefer to share activities, rather than thoughts or feelings, with their friends.

Myers notes these findings then talks about them within the context of how organizations, especially government, operate. Our society, like almost every other one in history, is male-dominated. This tends to value male traits, like competition and aggression, over female traits, such as nurturing and cooperation. This can make life for women difficult, especially within the executive offices of most organizations.

Myers has talked to a number of women who have demonstrated the ability to excel in leadership positions. There are those who run organizations and those who lead countries. Her book is full of examples of strong women who have handled difficult situations with a combination of grit, poise, and grace. These women have almost invariably also had to "thread a needle," walking the line between getting accepted by their male counterparts while maintaining their female viewpoints.

Women who are in strong roles in organizations often look for ways to compromise to move decisions forward and get work done. In Congress, the women support one another, looking for ways to get their bills through. And the bills they champion often deal with family-related and work-life issues that have been previously overlooked. Women can help a war-torn nation heal more quickly, as demonstrated after the Rwandan genocide. They are more likely to set aside the tragedy of the past in order to move toward a better life in the present and future.

Our world will change for the better, according to Myers, when women are represented equally at all levels of society and particularly when they have a much stronger voice in decision-making. She is quick to point out that women are not better than men. Rather, including more women at the uppermost level of organizations adds to diversity. That gives us a stronger talent pool, more choices, greater experience, and multiple viewpoints, all of which almost always leads to better group decision-making.

Why Women Should Rule the World, by Dee Dee Myers, was published by HarperCollins in 2008. It is full of information, yet written in a conversational tone that makes for a great read. Myers ideas are well-grounded and intriguing. Look for it in your local library or bookstore.

Judy Downing is a freelance writer who focuses on marketing, sales, customer service and women's issue. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with small business owners to clarify and enhance their customer and business practices. Visit her website at or email her at

Source: EzineArticles
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