Feminine. What does that word mean to you?
Does it all sound a bit soft and fluffy, cutesy, pretty? Doesn’t pack much of a punch?
If so, then what does Feminine Power sound like to you?
Or you might have heard people talk about the Divine Feminine or Goddess Power and if like me, that sounds even more wafty and floaty and not much to do with power at all, then you really might start wondering why I’m even talking about this in the context of power in the first place. But bear with me.
I wasn’t aware of the concept of Feminine Power until I started studying for my Women’s Certificate in Coaching a few years ago. When I was introduced to the concept of it, it blew my mind.
Suddenly things started making sense. How I found it hard to communicate with my husband sometimes, why I hadn’t felt right in certain work situations, why the world seemed to be slowly falling apart.
As a Libra and lover of all things balanced it also appealed to my woo woo side and this idea that I could actually acknowledge it to greater effect. It spoke to me.
So, what is it then?
So maybe it’s easier to think of it like this, the notion that in order to achieve balance in ourselves and our surroundings we need to have polarising energies. A bit like Yin and Yang.
Femine Power is a counter to Masculine Power, the power we tend to see more in our lives being based in the UK. According to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory (https://www.hofstede-insights.com), a theory which rates countries and their traits, those countries rated as Masculine indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in field, whereas countries rated as Feminine (having a low score) means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The UK’s score currently stands at 66 making us a Masculine Society, highly success orientated and driven.
Without realising it we have been conditioned to value these traits and behaviours largely from the society we live in. Therefore our concept of what makes us powerful is rooted in the outcomes of success, results and achievement. But what if you don’t value those outcomes, what if your version of success is different and you veer towards a more feminine framework. How do you fit in and feel good?
I (and many others) believe that we need both in society and the workplace to allow for different styles and viewpoints so that we all feel heard and comfortable. But so far we have been downplaying or ignoring the feminine side of the coin, believing that those softer powers just won’t cut it in the world of work.
When we look to history so many feminine power archetypes and icons have been revered throughout history. The concept of goddesses in many cultures who hold seemingly magical powers, Captain Marvel (well after a tweak) and the mother of all Feminine Powerhouses, Mother Earth, to name a tiny ( but mighty ) few. These feminine figures hold huge and immense power but somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten that.
The idea that we could achieve equally good or possibly better results in certain work and personal situations by tapping into more feminine power traits, in my opinion, hasn’t been explored enough.
Just stop and have a think. Here’s a few words for you to consider:
How do they make you feel? Strong and powerful? All geared up to hit those targets and bring in the big bucks? Probably not, chances are your initial reaction may feel weak, or feeble. For that kind of result we’re going to be looking to harness that masculine power, because that’s what maculine power does best. I’m not saying here that Masculine is bad or that we need to completely change direction and work another way. I’m saying we could use the Femine Power too, because we need both types of power to get a more balanced approach to harness ALL of our collective power. I’m also not saying that Masculine is just for men and feminine is only for women, again we need both in us, as human beings to become more balanced and thrive fully.
Wouldn’t it be helpful sometimes to stop, pause and reflect on a situation and really think about the feelings of others before we react and head straight to the bottom line? Couldn’t we get more out of our workforce if we nurtured them more, thought more about their feelings and showed that we valued them? Would we get more back from them in return?
My feeling is yes.
Feminine power incorporates the idea of inner knowing, gut instinct, intuition, love, kindness, beauty, emotion and creativity ( I could go on…) that in these modern times can seem a bit flaky, over emotional, intangible and not based on hard fact. But why shouldn’t it still count?
Aren’t there plenty of situations where on a daily basis we’d get better outcomes if we employed some of these softer approaches? In the workplace wouldn’t it feel lighter in the appraisal one to ones, the team meetings, networking events and sales conversations if we felt like we could be heard, seen and show up as our true selves without having to put on a hard outer shell to get through them and be listened to? To be able to lose some of the competition and raise each other up instead? If we viewed our team members as human beings first with lives outside of work which no longer need to be hidden out of view?
What does it mean for women in the workplace and their careers?
A lot of the working world is built on masculine energy power principles at least here in the UK anyway, due mainly to historic developments and the fact that women weren’t actually invited to the table until relatively recently. It’s especially prevalent in the corporate world. But since women have been invited in this hasn’t changed too much, on the whole.
In my conversations with clients and friends I’m hearing plenty of women tell me they feel a lack of creativity and connection and are working in environments where they can’t say what they want, offices where it’s hard to say no for fear of not being seen to be hardworking and a general feeling of not having a voice or getting to where they want to be.
Mid-career is a time when lots of women are looking to whether they want to aim for the more senior levels of their organisations and questioning whether they want to be asked to bring more, possibly act more, against their nature or preferences and give up more of what they want in other areas of their lives. And they don’t want it. It’s the time when women start to drop out of senior management and feel disheartened by the whole career trajectory.
The power to change though lies within us all and the starting point is working out how you want things to be and then to navigate your career, your way. Getting clear messages out to senior management about what workplaces need to now look like, especially after the landscape has changed again after Covid, is going to be fundamental to making change happen.
By bringing in more of our feminine power, we’re opening up the conversation, asking (not shouting) to be heard and questioning the ways in which we work. By listening to what really matters for you, what feels right and not denying what’s true for you, is a step in the right direction.
Once you know that then you go about working out how to make it happen.
Career Empowerment Coach
Helping professional women own their career, find their power and make positive change so that they thrive in the workplace.
To find out more about how you can become a Feminine Powerhouse and make a greater impact in your career, come and join me in my free webinar on Wednesday 23rd June at 1pm.
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