January 17, 2023

Currently Thinking: Women - Change and Consistency.

Here's why I'm so intellectually interested in "the experience of women": They make up 50% of the population.  

There are so many underrepresented and under privileged people around the world, but none of these groups make up 50% of the world. 

There are representation/achievement issues for people of color, non binary people, disabled people... the list goes on.  But those people are not 50% of the population.  Women are 50%.  Half of everything should be women.  Half the CEOs, half the professional chefs. Half the famous singers, half the politicians, half the world leaders. 

It's not half.  It's not close.

Men get the amazing privilege to approach each day the same.  Their bodies don't work on a monthly cycle of hormones, subtly and un-subtly changing how they experience each day.  Men don't take 9 months out to have their bodies manipulated by foreign beings, then recover from that and come back stronger or weaker... and then do it again.

Men can go to work every day of the week, put in a similar effort, then return to work the next day with the same.  

Is that natural?  Does anything in nature put in steady-state effort? 

Our life and our planet are in a continual cycle of renewal.  The waxing and waning of the moon. The changes of the season.  Life is filled with sprints and pauses, building and laying the groundwork.  

What if the Male approach, the one that creates CEOs and world leaders, the effortful denial of of the constant of change, is wrong?  What if women are not "less-than" men, or "men with issues to overcome".  What if instead, Women experience life in the way it was meant to be experienced.  

What if Men are the anomaly?  

Perhaps a monthly cycle of effort and energy, followed by a phase of inward regeneration, is how the business world, the professional world, the political world should work.  Perhaps this world has been so dominated by a cycle-less 50% for so long that we've lost sight of the importance of change as a constant.

Perhaps women aren't "less than" at all.  And the questions might not be "how can we make women more like men" but instead "how can we make men more like the world?" 


  1. Amen! To all of this.
    Also, I've never heard women being described as "men with issues to overcome" but you should see the smoke coming out of both my ears at that phrase.
    I wonder what the world would look like if women were in charge of 50% more decision-making? I suspect our environment and political landscapes would be...much healthier.
    I like men. I married one and he's wonderful and progressive when it comes to women's rights. But still - men (especially white, well-educated) will never be able to understand what it is like to inhabit a woman's body (can you imagine most of our partners/spouses etc dealing with PMS and everything that comes with the hormonal cycles we go through) or inhabit a woman's reality in the professional sphere.
    They don't have to and that's great. We need men AND women, it's this notion that it needs to be either/or. We're better together and we need to celebrate how those differences allow us to bring diffferent perspectives to the table.
    Excellent post, Rachel! So much food for thought.

    1. Thank you! I think what I meant by "women are less than men" is the notion that "Men ask for raises, women don't" or "women book less changeable time than men in consultancy" or "Women don't speak up in meetings" - the notion that men are successful because of what they do, and therefore women aren't because they *don't do* those things - disregarding that women also have extremely different experiences when they try to engage in "manly" behaviour.

      I adore men too and struggle to write about this without sounding like a man-hater... so I'm hoping to use this blog to refine and improve my ability to write about this topic more. Thank you so much for your feedback!

    2. You definitely don't come across as a man-hater, but your voicing an important topic. I think I'm especially attuned to it all because I have a daughter and a son. And I suspect, she will face many struggles/roadblocks in life (especially professionally) specifically because she is a woman. I still remember being shocked by that article you linked to about a man who said he didn't read books written by women. I had NEVER thought about this phenomenon, but I suspect it really rings true. Yet women are regularly reading books on how to climb the ladder at work - among many other topics - written by men.
      I love these conversations. Thanks for launching them!

  2. I always love your posts - they are so thought provoking and this is no exception!

  3. Thanks for this thought provoking post. I don't have much to add but I will say that I've never thought the answer to having more women in positions of power is for women to be more like men which seems to be how things often roll. We lose so much when we don't value what each individual brings to the table.

    1. Thank you Melissa - I totally agree. I think that's the hard thing about the "Lean In" narrative - Sheryl Sandberg had so many good points about women and men but also sometimes reinforced the notion that female traits should be "covered up" with male traits in order to progress professionally.

  4. As I previously said, I appreciate your posts about this topic... and you don't come off as a man-hater, just a very observant pro-woman advocate.

    I can only imagine what this world would look like if more women were in leadership positions. Because as you pointed out in the reply to Elisabeth's comment... it's really not about that women have to become more "manly" (that usually backfires), but that women have to be valued and appreciated for what they can bring to the table.

  5. I don't have much to add. I am always surprised that 50% of the population is just not equally represented.My main issue is the entire medical world. Just yesterday I learned about my aunt who has endometriosis and who was twice in the hospital being sent back with – wait for it – flatulence. Ending up with emergency surgery because her entire abdominal cavity was ulcerated. Without knowing I am rather sure it was no women the first times sending her back home...

  6. In Wales, just over 51% of the population is female. I would also add that the medical system tends to treat women differently (and worse) than men. Two women I am very close to had significant, if somewhat vague, medical problems when they were relatively young. One was always exhausted and would sleep for 16 hours, waking up as tired as when she went to sleep. The other started having memory problems, difficulty understanding directions, and various functional problems in her late 30's. Both were extremely intelligent. Both were "diagnosed" with depression and put on anti-depressants. Years later, the first was finally diagnosed with narcolepsy, the second with a thiamine absorption deficiency. I strongly believe that if a man had gone to the doctor with the same symptoms, they would have had better tests done, and would have had a proper diagnosis, likely saving themselves years of unhappiness.

  7. This is fascinating to me, as someone who works in a field that is 96% women. I do see evidence, though, that the few men are almost automatically promoted to leadership positions, and spend less time in the rank and file. I really appreciate your posts, as they make me think about broader issues that I don't encounter in my everyday life. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I have noticed that too - men seem to be primed for promotion, women are also promoted but need to prove their worthy of it first. Men almost need to prove their not worthy to not get promoted.