What's So Special About Women?
Women make up slightly more than 50% of the population. But do marketers and male-dominated boardrooms draw as much inspiration from them as they could and should?
Last night, I was privileged to be one of about four men attending the London launch of a book More Than 85 Broads that tells the collective stories of 85 women united by some connection with Goldman Sachs. Oh great you may be thinking - boring, uptight bankers trying to out-macho men, but I'm here to tell you no that wasn't the case. Four of them plus the author spoke and I was uncharacteristically blown away; awed by their achievements, passion and drive; fascinated by their journeys from disparate backgrounds; and stunned by their extra curricular exploits.
It may be fashionable to refer to consumers as "she", but I've always felt that to be, at best, a sop and, at worst, a patronising pigeonholing of women as "people who shop" rather than people who have provocative and very different world-views that should be embraced. The world-views that is, not the women - he added with exemplary political correctness.
While I was bemused and a little irritated that all these remarkable speakers seemed so apologetic and prone to declare themselves unworthy of inclusion in the book - imposter syndrome writ large methinks - I adored the self-deprecation, compassion and true sense of solidarity that pervaded the evening (and this, remember, from a bunch of current and former bankers).
The characterisation of their network as a safety net for "all those times when they felt afraid"; the assertion of risk-taking as the best way to identify one's true strengths; and the belief that feminine energy is the most creative energy because of women's nurturing imperative - these were some of the snippets that resonated with me. Far more so than the one snippet of male conversation I overheard - a hierarchical discussion of stereotypical irrelevance about who had been the best speaker.
The future looks feminine to me and businesses should take that far more seriously than they appear to now.