What is the key issue we all have to deal with besides the environment and the digital transformation of society? I would argue it’s the gender issue.
We have seen amazing progress in the last few decades but there’s a stalling feeling when looking at the future. The first phase of equality advancement was based on legal and political changes. Women could celebrate numerous victories guaranteeing equal rights and protection under the law. Society focused on abolishing discrimination, empowering women to keep up with men. This forced women to play in an environment built by men, controlled by men, perfected by men.
The most successful women were those that displayed male characteristics and often had to act more manly than any of their male competitors to be considered for promotion or executive positions. Hillary’s primary run was a perfect example for this behavior. Interestingly, Hillary had to play the ‘man card’ of being cut-throat and hyper-competitive to be regarded as a strong competitor. Obama, on the other hand, showed a softer, more female side as a competitor by emphasizing relationships and making connections. Frankly, Hillary had no choice: The gender environment requires women to act like men.
The next step will be hardest: Women have to change the way business is done. They have to change the way we conduct politics. They have to move society away from competitiveness towards relationship building. The desire for this change is out there. Not only in politics as we’ve discovered with the stunning success of Obama. We see this need for more relationship building and connections in the way people use new technologies.
This change can’t be dictated by courts or politicians. It will happen when women finally use their buying power to force businesses to change. Voting with their wallets will change car dealerships, banks, health care, well, almost everything. Society is ready for it. When will brands answer?