We think we’re at an exciting tipping point.
Feminism is all too often a contentious word, but when you ask people how they feel about women and men being equal, most claim to be in favour. After winning the right to vote in the first wave, feminists have been fighting for liberation, individualism, and equal opportunities for themselves and others ever since. We’re now in the fourth wave of feminism, where the internet and social media have enabled diverse voices to be heard.
In October 2017, this was brought into sharp focus as the #MeToo movement began to spread virally and hit the headlines. This gave all women the voice to speak out, certainly against harassment, but also about a host of other injustices, including equal opportunities in the workplace and the gender pay gap.
As a result, we are beginning to hear women’s voices more and see more women in leading roles in parliament, business, television, film, sport and social media. Amazing women in history are also emerging, and some amazing female role models are at last coming into the spotlight.
Further reassessment of the respective roles of men and women is being seen in:
- Changes in technology that are reshaping how and where people work, with more opportunities for flexible hours and working from home. The enforced changes that occurred during the COVID-19 crisis may actually help speed this process up as organizations have seen that much can be achieved while working from home, with more flexible hours and greater use of videoconferencing.
- The latest thinking in management and leadership moving on from more the hierarchical structures and command-and-control approaches to flatter management teams and more collaboration and interdependence.
- The positive reassessment of certain traits historically ascribed to women and often belittled. Intuition is just one example, where the old negative term of ‘a woman’s intuition’ has been challenged by books like Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and a new interpretation as superfast superlogic is increasingly accepted.