Scrolling on Instagram today as I am too-often wont to do, I happened upon a post from New Zealand’s inspirational Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. It’s two weeks old, making it positively pre-historic in social media terms, but it gave me a thrill of pleasure.
It’s nothing particularly special. Just a photo of her on the phone with another global leader, Mette Fredrikisen, Prime Minister of Denmark.
“I’ve been asked a few times about whether world leaders are sharing ideas with one another right now – we are!” Writes Ardern. “We may be far away, but we’re all in the same fight against COVID.”
Honestly, the photograph made me emotional. To see strong female leaders working together and supporting one another, was such a balm.
Maybe it’s testament to how rare it is see female political leaders represented at all, that I had this reaction. But whether it’s Ardern, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Finland’s Sanna Marin or San Francisco Mayor London, these humans, who represent the tiny 7% of political leaders at their level who are women, are being praised for the way they are responding to the current crisis.
There’s a lot of analysis into what has made these leader’s approaches successful. Of course, no one leader is perfect. There are also many variables. A key theme is that they have sought and taken expert advice, contrasting with leaders who, for example, choose instead to rely on their own intellect. Mentioning no names (#dontinjectbleach).
I just finished a wonderful book, shared with me by my beautiful and brilliant sister-in-law, Emma, called If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie, which touches on the concept of divine feminine leadership and calls for women to take up their birthright as of eco-heroines in this time of ecological collapse. Divine feminine leadership is the principle that there are various divine attributes which are more linked to the feminine spectrum. It’s not inherently about your sex or gender. As Flora Ware writes in this fab introduction to the topic, “as spiritual beings we energetically operate beyond the limiting gender binary and can express both no matter our biological sex.” But let me tell you, the qualities that are associated with feminine leadership are just SO delicious. Take a look:
Isn’t that a wonderful list? A couple of of these attributes won’t come as a surprise, because they are areas which society has allowed women to lead, like ‘nurturing’ and compassion. And I believe they are essential to creating a more just, more equal society. But other abilities also come to the fore – vision and the ability to take courageous actions, say, enforcing a large-scale lockdown during a global pandemic, even if the move will be unpopular. The ability to manifest and transform new realities.
It’s a bitter truth that it often takes true horrors to bring out the best in humans. But, my wish is that, if we allow ourselves to be changed at all by this challenging era, we will remember the ways that female leaders shepherded us through this collective experience – with strength, with compassion, with vision. And our ideas about leadership will continue to shift in the right direction.
And loved ones, this shift, this raising of the global consciousness, isn’t just about female leaders ‘out there’. No, it doesn’t just count when we’re making our choices on voting day. It matters when we’re considering that promotion at work. When we’re raising our children. When we’re showing up in life for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
I, for one, am ready to embrace the leader that I know I am, and the leadership qualities which I possess most abundantly – vulnerability, sensitivity and the ability to bring people together. And, part in thanks to leaders like Jacinda Ardern, and books like If Women Rose Rooted, I’m ready to stop apologising for them.
Today, loved ones of all and every gender and none, I offer you a gentle invitation to ask yourself: which of those seven delicious attributes of divine feminine leadership do you relate to? Which of these have you quashed or limited in yourself because you’ve been offered such limited definitions of leadership in the past? Could embracing these attributes help you show up in your life in a fuller way?