Archive for December, 2009


Different Stages of Feminine Evolution

December 18, 2009 | Posted by Elza Maalouf | 1 Comment

InannaThe emergence of the patriarchy in the Rig Veda’s and Sumerian texts was an evolutionary impulse and an answer to the chaotic feminine of nature. After chaos comes order and the cycle reverses when order becomes too rigid and unyielding.  There’s no conspiracy by the gods of mythology to suffocate the feminine in men and women, rather it is a natural impulse, a historic and cosmic ebb and flow that moves between birth, destruction and reconstruction of our universe.

Over thousands of years, the masculine in us became further separated from nature and the intuitive chaotic feminine, thus creating the dissonance needed for a new wise feminine to be born. Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex were the latest saga of an order gone awry.

The pioneering feminist movement in the West took on more male qualities in order to find their voice in a male dominated society. From Suzan B. Anthony to Gloria Steinem the path was more of an existential struggle rather than a search for deeper sense of the feminine-self. Even the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir took a second seat to allow Sartre to shine.

Today, we stand on the shoulders of these pioneering women and the men who supported the feminine throughout history, and we ask ourselves where do we go from here? What is the feminine and how is it emerging in different parts of the world?

My work in the West and in developing cultures gives me a privileged first hand perspective into the many faces of the feminine in the world. Rather than the stereotypical distinction between East and West, or developing countries and first world, I use the lenses of complexity and value-systems in culture to recognize the stages of emergence of women all over the world.

Few Examples of Stages of Evolution in Different Cultures:

Evolution for a Bangladeshi woman who received her first $12 microloan, bought a cell phone and charged her neighbors for calls, means affording and education for her daughters and ending the cycle of female illiteracy in the country.

Evolution for a Palestinian woman living in a refugee camp is having a job and generating enough money to be independent and educate her children.

For a young Saudi woman, evolution means becoming a professional woman and having a say in choosing a partner rather than being stuck in an arranged marriage.

Many organizations in Africa have programs that invite you to buy a goat for women in remote villages to help them give the right nutrition to their children and save enough money to afford an education.

Kuwaiti women who have been leading businesswomen, doctors and bankers for decades, progress for them took a huge leap forward when they gained their rights to vote and be elected to high political office.

In Chile my female colleagues tell me that evolution for them is to gain respect from men in the workplace and be treated as equal.

For female executives in Corporate America progress comes from shattering the glass ceiling that has been limiting the potential achievements of a feminine manifestation of a global corporate leadership.

Yet, evolution for many Western women is getting in touch with their emotions and having a deeper sense of self. Although, more and more women in the so-called developing world are now pursuing the same path of evolution especially when they were afforded the life conditions that allowed them to receive great education in their own countries and in Ivy League schools.

WHY the Different Stages? …Life Conditions

We all have potential for deeper complexity, high achievement an unlimited progress, however as demonstrated in the examples above, different cultures are emerging at different paces according to the intricacies of each society’s life conditions. That’s why it is imperative for Westerners not to impose their version of progress and development on other cultures in the world. Meeting people where they are and helping them move to where they need to be is key.

When I am asked to design solutions for a particular organization or culture, I look first for the Intelligences within the culture to inform my approach to a solution. This helps me step out of my own value-systems and design for the evolutionary needs of such culture.

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