It touches all of us, the personal stories behind the yellow vests. This is not about the agitators who are using this opportunity for destruction, theft and violence. This is about the ordinary people from outside the city. It’s about mothers and fathers who, despite working two jobs and a full working week are still not able to climb above the poverty line. It’s about stories of women prepared to die on those roundabouts because they’re confronted with the poverty in their children’s and grandchildren’s live and can’t think of a way out.
It’s about stories of people who work extremely hard without any prospect of a better future.
This weekend, it wasn’t the thousands of yellow vests that caught public attention, but five women. These were five activists dressed as Marianne, the national symbol of the French Republic. These women marched bare-breasted on the street in a silent protest yet saying all that needed to be said without uttering a word.
- Where is the nurture, the care for those who cannot manage on their own?
- Who takes responsibility for those who need this help?
- Who creates the social security necessary in the capitalist system?
The exposed breasts of the ‘French Mariannes’ is a reference to the deep feminine nature that uses her power to provide care and nurture to those who cannot do this themselves.
The article ‘Foster globalisation, but learn from the past’ from the Dutch publication the NRC Handelsblad of this weekend states how practically everyone all over the world benefits from market forces. Practically everyone: but there are those who lose out.
Where is it going wrong?
The general sense of powerlessness, dissatisfaction and hopelessness among many the ‘non-urban population’ has been made visible by the ‘yellow vest’. This vest, designed for visibility in dangerous situations, tells exactly what these people wish to make very clear: see me, because there’s a threat of danger. They are not sharing in the benefits of the new Golden Age created within the international knowledge-intensive sectors:
- They are not educated or trained to participate in the tech economy;
- as recipients of an intermediate vocational education, it is hard for them to access innovations and innovative subsidies;
- they have had to leave their permanent jobs for successive (and sometimes daily) temporary contracts;
- Have seen their incomes fall in real terms for many years.
Where exactly is it going wrong? In my view, the imbalance is at the top. It’s politicians who polarise instead of bringing people together. It’s executives who exploit and take advantage of human capital instead of balancing their capital returns with welfare and social security for those people who have been entrusted to their leadership.
The imbalance at the top is not working. What is wrong, is a lack of feminine values in leaders, in leadership and in policy.
The natural midpoint within the leader
Societies in which the difference between the haves and the have-nots is increasing or in any case becoming more visible have led to the global rise of right or left-wing extremism, and mainly authoritarian leaders.
Both the left and the right are also calling for a strong leader. The danger is that this will end up being an authoritarian leader, or a dictator. I have different advice for this: choose a leader with strong balance.
Choose a leader with the personal capacity to connect (with) people, to listen, and to truly see people. Choose a leader who will allow all stakeholders to share in this Golden Age that has dawned.
The feminine force of making connections, showing empathy and sharing are now more vital than ever.
This force has inspired managers to take responsibility for the impact of their business on people’s lives. It motivates people to simply pay taxes in the country in which they are active. It goes without saying that a balanced leader should not only use labour and capital, but also invest in it proportionally. This cyclical way of thinking, in which you are responsible for what you consume and use, is deeply rooted in the feminine mindset.
With Carla Clarissa, I focus on developing this feminine power in leaders. We start with women with the talent and ambition to grow into a role in top management. Balanced feminine (and masculine) leaders are highly capable of bringing about connections, project themselves into roles, thinking in terms of the big picture and making good decisions. They form the natural midpoint in our society. They build bridges between technological growth and investment in education and training for the employees they lead.