Would a world governed by women be more peaceful?
SERDAR DEVRİMJoseph S. Nye, a former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary and a geopolitics expert at Harvard, tells us in an article* that best-selling author Steven Pinker, who lectures at the same university on experimental psychology, answers this question in the affirmative in his new book entitled “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” Yes, a world run by women would be more peaceful!
“Women have maintained a peaceful outlook throughout history and always will do so. Traditional wars are a male preoccupation; women have never assembled to attack neighboring villages,” the renowned expert explains. Alright, but first of all, this line of business (war) had already been taken up by men, so women never got the chance, and secondly, women were never able to assume positions of power. So how would they behave if they did?
Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi were women in positions of power who did not refrain from taking their countries to war. “These women, however, rose to power through politicking in accordance with ‘the rules of a men’s world.’ If men and women shared the seats half and half, they would have acted differently in power,” Nye says.
I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of this statement. I believe women can be even tougher and more merciless than men for this reason, whether they are at the helm of a country or a company. I will not claim that women need to be even worse than men in order to attain positions of power in entirely macho-istic and even misogynous structures that operate in accordance with rules laid down by males.
As I have often pointed out, we have the example of a female minister in Turkish politics, even if she was practically parachuted into that position. It is unfortunately not considered charming for women to engage other kinds of politics, or for other kinds of women to be politically engaged in Turkey. This holds true for every social structure involving some measure of power in this backwardly Eastern society of ours.
Even if there is great progress in a small section of society, does sex have any influence over the manner of wielding power? Psychologists reply affirmatively: Men are more inclined to exert power, and women to cooperate. Recent studies demonstrate that “female-style administration” is on the ascendant.
“In societies based on information and communication, hierarchy is replaced by networks, and info-workers have less regard for hierarchy.” “Sharing administration” and the “redistribution of authority” have gained currency in many of today’s organizations. Administrators, in other words, are sitting at the center of a circle and not on top of a pyramid, Nye says.
This change can be felt even in the American military. A report from the Pentagon says that drill sergeants vociferate less, as younger generations are more receptive to training personnel who employ the “guidance model.” It accomplishes nothing for an army to destroy buildings and kill people in terms of scoring victories against terrorism and revolt, because it is necessary to win the people’s hearts and minds, says the former deputy defense secretary.
“Today’s administrators ought to know how to utilize networks, have a penchant for cooperation and encourage participation.” And that is the form of governance women thrive in.
Women constitute only five percent of executives in major corporations (even in the US), and a mere 16 percent of deputies and senators. Only 27 percent of some 1,941 state leaders and prime ministers who came to power in independent countries in the 20th century were women, and nearly half of these were either the daughters or the widowed wives of a former (male) ruler.
The ratio of women who rise to power through their own name and strength stands at a mere one percent!
As the clock continues to tick toward World Women’s Day on March 8, allow me to finish this article with Joseph S. Nye’s concluding remarks: “Steven Pinker is dead on when he says that countries that fail to prevent violence are the same ones that do not grant women the opportunity to develop themselves.”
*Le Figaro, Feb. 11 – 12, 2012