Men And Women Exercise 59

Do men and women exercise power differently?

How men and women wield power is often described as different. Not always right.

This is a remark that has not gone unnoticed. The turbulent British Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed himself a singular declaration on women during an interview on German television. According to him, if Putin had been a woman, he – or she – would never have embarked on this crazy macho war that is the invasion of Ukraine. However, it is enough to look into the past to doubt these assertions. 

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Margaret Thatcher had indeed launched a war against Argentina 40 years ago, to regain control of the Falkland Islands. He took it well on the political level since this victorious expedition was the real beginning of his popularity in Downing Street. Same with Indian leader Indira Gandhi and the war she launched against Pakistan. We can also see that this idea, of making women more peaceful, more reasonable beings, circulates in the corporate world as well.

Part of the literature dealing with management defines women as more empathetic people, seeking compromise, more concerned about the long term, and more wary of risk than men. Men would therefore be pushed to excess and confrontation because of testosterone, while women would be protected from excess by their temperament. 

Women love power too

But why would women love power less than men? When Anne Lauvergeon planted the French nuclear leader Areva, for having recklessly bought the Canadian company Uramin, it cost the taxpayer billions. This type of behaviour could easily be attributed to a man. Conversely, Mary Barra, who runs the American automaker General Motors, drives one of the biggest companies in the world with great efficiency and firmness. One thing is certain, you don’t get to this position by installing bouquets of flowers in offices with smiles. You have to love power.

If there are fewer people from the fairer sex who exercise power, it is above all because of social representations, and not genetics. In addition, men still occupy the majority of the places and are generally not very inclined to leave their places.  

Women take fewer reckless risks

Remember what Christine Lagarde, the President of the ECB, said: if the investment bank Lehman Brothers had been called Lehman Sisters, there would have been no financial crisis in 2008. In other words, women would not have taken the reckless risks that brought down the global economy. We can also link this to the thesis of certain ethnologists. Margaret Mead, for example, asserts that men drown their frustration at not being able to give birth in perilous adventures and battles. 

The world of finance is clearly ultra-masculine and sexist. Only 2% of the world’s money is managed by women. But should we see the reason for the crises there, rather than in the collective madness, the greed or the absence of scruples which are also the work of women? Let women make mistakes and have ego attacks, just like men. Equality is in all areas. 

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