A Manifesto of Women’s Influence

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We are creating the future!

We are changing the world — through careers, motherhood, entrepreneurship, inspiration, creativity, citizenship and social activism. Through beauty and love.

We are contributing value-centered, fairer, kinder relationships to the world. We reject destruction and we are not at war — we are the peacemakers. We nurture and bear children – leaders of the future – and exercise a fundamental influence on their upbringing.

We are women!

Men and Women: Sex and Gender

Gender is determined by physiology. Karl Marx wrote, “…there develops the division of labor, which was originally nothing but the division of labor in the sexual act, then that division of labor which develops spontaneously or ‘naturally’ by virtue of natural predisposition” (Marx and Engels, 1998, p.50).

Researchers in the field of psychology and physiology have recorded a set of differences between the male and female sex, a kind of physiological “division of labor.” As the woman is designed to receive, the man is designed to actively pursue sexual goals. In this manner, a woman is able to experience a greater number of orgasms in a given time than a man. The sexual act is often more psychological for a woman than for a man. Relationship and intimate connection being significant to a woman, physical victory often brings more satisfaction to a man. Women are more interested in intimate, cooperative dyadic relationships that are more emotion-focused and characterized by strong egalitarian norms. These and other differences are the basis for the emergence of the social form of gender. This concept, parallel to the term “sex,” was first introduced into language by Ann Oakley in the book “Sex, Gender and Society” (1972), which has survived a dozen editions. “Sex” is a biological term, and” gender” is a term derived from the field of psychology and embedded in culture. If “sex” indicates the biological division between men and women, then “gender” reflects the separation between femininity and masculinity.

Gender can be thought of as the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex. Gender is the self-representation as male or female, and how the individual is responded to by social institutions on the basis of the individual’s gender presentation. It is gender that determines the understanding of “ideal men” and “ideal women” within cultures and in historical eras. In 1883, the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the work Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None wrote, “Two different things wanteth the true man: danger and diversion. Therefore wanteth he woman, as the most dangerous plaything. Man shall be trained for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly.”

As Nietzsche wrote, the concept of women as “playthings” did not apply within his personal life. Lou Salome, a Russian noblewoman with German roots, the first female psychoanalyst, and an outstanding writer, not only resisted becoming Nietzsche’s plaything – refusing his offer of marriage – but exerted tremendous influence on the life and work of the philosopher. Spreading the idea of women as playthings, existing solely for the pleasure of men, is gradually being extinguished in many cultures. Yet we acknowledge one of the deepest motivations of a man in his relationship with the woman of today – this educated and self-sufficient woman – is the reward, the “rest of the warrior” Nietzsche wrote about.

Gentlemen, we have good news: the reward is even more invaluable. Your time of relaxation with a woman is time spent with a more talented and knowledgeable partner, full of creative energy, capable of inspiring and previously unseen feats. Moreover, there’s no need to destroy the lives of others to gain it. Partnering with this emancipated woman requires embracing wisdom, love and expressions of generosity.

Women’s Emancipation: Watersheds

Mankind’s development has experienced several gender revolutions, each primarily concerned with the emancipation of women. The male as an identity group have been more resistant to historical social transformations. They were – and to a greater or lesser extent, remain warriors – their relationships often built on strength and fear. Men are often characterized by their propensity for competition rather than concern for the future or long term relationship and partnership. “The corpses of their enemies” inspire them to a greater extent than the abstract idea of mankind’s development. We are careful to point out there are certainly exceptions, but in the context of the Manifesto we refer to the historical and physical majority. We accede the behavior of men has remained unchanged for many centuries.

It follows that widespread gender transformations have been and are related to the development of women. The emancipation of women began in 1405, when Christine de Pizan published The Book of the City of Ladies, in which she presented laboring women making vast contributions to human development. These women were seen as a cultural nuisance, their very existence violated dearly held genteel precepts. Several centuries of struggle for the rights of wives followed...and law and culture still resisted the movement. Only in the recent past has the move towards a new horizon of progress for women occurred. We now find women present and changing every system in which they are located.

With the development of emancipation it might appear as if our very nature changed. Woman was transformed from an owned, sexual servant, a body carrying a child, into an initiator of change in the social and economic environment. She was emboldened into a Creator of works of art, into a Scientist making extraordinary discoveries, into a Citizen and Politician charged with making difficult decisions. She was transformed into a woman of influence.

The milestones of emancipation and the “maturation” of the rights and social status of women were and still are the acquisition of electoral and other political rights, the acquisition of economic independence, the ability to engage in business activities and dispose of property and the most important right — the control of ones body. The development of medicine and contraception, the right to abortion, the transformation of the culture of childbirth – all this allowed women to manage their reproductive capabilities and their sexuality. Women have evolved from “Adam’s Rib,” a part of man belonging to him without individual rights, to an independent participant in economic and social relations, a complementary role in a traditionally “male” world.

Alas, the emancipation of women is developing in unequal measure on the planet; countries and cultures have varying experiences. In Saudi Arabia, an economically secure country, women were recently granted the right to drive in 2018, and to travel abroad individually in 2019. Afghan women face a disproportionately high risk of election violence, in the form of threats, kidnappings, or killings. Human Rights Watch documented widespread sexual violence against women in Kenya’s 2017 elections, with many of the attacks carried out by security forces, including the police. According to the UN, politically motivated rape is on the rise, preventing women from participating freely in the democratic process. South Asia has the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Almost half of all women aged 20–24 years reported being married before the age of 18. Almost one in five girls are married before the age of 15. Child marriage violates the rights of women and places them at high risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse.

We see enormous potential for further emancipation of women in countries and cultures where education is neither equal or sufficient, where electoral and property rights are nonexistent, and women do not fully enjoy the right to control what transpires in their bodies.

We also identify a new catalyst – the philosophy of women’s influence — in countries and cultures where women have acquired civil rights and are exercising them. We must address the ethical crisis created by the contradiction of the developed woman trying to fit into the “Procrustean Bed” of patriarchal expectations and standards. And before we accuse men of being solely responsible, we need to look into ourselves and try to discover the infinite power in ourselves.

The Danger of Devaluing Gender

In a number of countries and cultures, a new transformation of gender relations is taking place. The march toward basic equality of civil and labor rights has led to flawed practices: Gender equity is often addressed by denying gender as a vital characterization of man, an important basis for the personal and social realization of all human beings. This constitutes a reversal of the initial goals and the meaning of the struggle for equality. We see this as a threat to the continuity of the cultural code of human beings. Our precious human race is realized and safely preserved through the nuclear familial relationship under the guidance of mother and father roles.

We believe it is wrong that gender today seems to have become a “shameful” constraint, overcome by new rituals and conversation regarding equality, when a man and a woman fail to respect the value and potential inherent within the opposite sex. We see a trend, for example, of demeaning the concept of female beauty in favor of neutrality – a trend that attempts to minimize the resulting feminine physical and intimate power that is developed as a woman nurtures herself and others.

The interpretation of sex and gender as objects of free choice appear to us as an actively imposed yet dangerous misconception. We acknowledge the population of people who experience biological sex contrary to gender and their right and need to bring themselves into healthy agreement. We also note with regret that in a number of developed countries the topic of diversity of sexual behavior and transgenderism is actively highlighted in the media – exceptionally more frequently than issues of family relations, child rearing, and the realization of women’s potential.

It may appear humans have overcome nature with intelligence and creativity, but nature is infinite. For the majority, personal freedom is revealed not in the struggle with nature – not in its alteration – but in fulfilling its maximum potential. Human potential, exposed through generations, is an invaluable and innate inheritance. Intelligence has seemingly brought limitless possibilities. We ask, “is it worth exhausting humanity’s potential to test the limits of nature?”

Homosexual relationships are a fact. We acknowledge and respect the love, courage, and self-preservation in such relationships. However, our Manifesto is for women and men who identify themselves as gendered women and men, for those who are fulfilled in their heterosexuality. Our Manifesto is for the majority, for those who bear children within heterosexual families or partnerships. Our Manifesto is an opportunity to speak for those who see the potential for cultural development through the regard and respect of gender difference and through gendered partnership. We are convinced we are in a watershed moment with respect to gender relations, as men and women revisit the quality and consequences of their personal and professional relationships as they are experienced by both genders and by children in addition to coming up with new ways of relating that empower and enhance the quality of life of all humanity.

We exclaim, “men and women are different!” Women are more sociable, sensitive, warm, and compassionate. Where aggression does arise, it tends to be more indirect and less openly confrontational. Women are better communicators, and more able to decode the nonverbal behavior of others. Women also tend to use more affiliative and tentative speech in their language, and tend to be more expressive in both their facial expressions and bodily language. Women are better multitaskers, able to switch between roles and jobs with unparalleled reaction time.

It is foolish not to appreciate the inherent benefits of each of the sexes, striving for nominal sameness in everything. We reject modern rituals based in fear and political correctness. This is a dead end fight for a flat and unyielding notion of equality. This is a mistake.

“For countless generations men shaped women and women shaped men. Here we are – the product of this amazing, complicated history. If we understand this, our judgment becomes broader & less superficial, whether we like the way we are or would like to change it.” – Marco del Guidice

Equality of Difference: Equality & Equity

We have already noted that the struggle for equal gender rights has produced significant results. Further, we recognize the belief and position of philosophers like Poulin de La Barre, who in the 17th century exposited the unequal position of men and women results from the subordination to strength and forcible power rather than a prescription of nature.

Political rights, women’s financial independence – the opportunity and ability to earn money and manage it – is significant. Women holding positions within all social groups and throughout institutions is best and necessary. But as we study contemporary manifestations of the struggle for equality, we note that opportunities are often formally generated and not a result of a natural change. For example, the regions of Northern Europe and North America over the past fifty years have achieved almost total quantitative equality between men and women within “traditional” spheres of influence – political and corporate management. However, this was achieved, among other actions, by implementing quotas, affirmative action and diversity mechanisms at the legislative level.

We believe these “formal” measures such as quotas are useful only as a matter of temporary satisfaction – used to motivate women to improve their performance and help men (who need it) adjust while removing barriers to the transfer of concentrated power. But the ultimate goal is to achieve the inclusion of women in corporate governance and political authority through the recognition of their professional qualities and the unique power of their influence, not by quotas and numerical constructs.

It is very important to convey to today’s managers, owners, and company stakeholders that incorporating women’s influence is a unique competitive advantage and resource for sustainable development, a far cry from a minimum need, as women are those making decisions about the majority. It is women who make decisions regarding household purchases, housing and real estate, furniture and construction materials, automobiles, tourism, and recreation. It follows that women join Ministries and committees, that they are a part of product development and that their voice is heard in marketing.

This competitive advantage honors the difference and nuance between the sexes, by focusing on the subtle yet systemic difference between equality and equity. One is numerical and formally constructed. The other – equity – refers to the inherent unique qualities and resources of each sex, and authenticity and justice is based on this.

Sports are divided into men’s and women’s categories. There are no 50–50% football teams consisting of women and men. There is no parity in carrying a child or giving birth, primary care or secondary education. There are laws in the world that prohibit women from working in harmful and difficult jobs, and laws that seek to increase the proportion of women in leadership through quotas. And both types are right given the ultimate goal and purpose of transformation, its limitations of time and scope – this is what should underlie social, political and business initiatives.

We are convinced that women influence the world in a qualitative and valuable way that is different than men, so to measure our influence with quantifiable measures through a digitized lens is not effective. At the same time when a woman does not seek to take a leadership position this is not necessarily fear or low social ambitions. Although the “glass ceiling” and the “sticky floor” are long known stereotyped boxes women are breaking through and experiencing the power of influence in one another. The corporate staircase is obvious, but not the only one and it is not the sole opportunity women have to make the world a better place. Women have a variety of modes and identities through which they influence, and we must change the public perception of roles like Mother, the Muse, the Creator, who must be supported and appreciated – creating the Foundation of a harmonious future for coming generations.

Strength and weakness

A particularly repugnant sociopolitical practice is one identifying and treating women as a minority group requiring special social protections. This patriarchal categorization of women minimizes their contribution and socializes women to accept an ambivalent relationship with societal development.

It is high time we reposition ourselves and eliminate the perception of women as “social projects.” This perception must be replaced by an accurate assessment of our strength and potential. This repositioning, however; does not eliminate the status of women as a statistical minority. Globally, there are more men than women. According the CIA World Factbook 2019 data, the Global Gender Ratio Rate is 101 men to 100 women. The goal of repositioning is to elevate women from a denigrated and socially protected class with limited resources and opportunities.

While pregnancy and early motherhood may require additional physical and medical support or intervention, these are seasons of profound and apparent power. Yet, in many languages, the period of care for a newborn child is translated “vacation,” “holiday,” or “leave.” This phrasing indicates the woman is “off” work during this period, distanced from her more important responsibilities. Asked whether the ideal holiday should include remaining in an heightened state of attention, physically exhausted and fretful, most (if not all) would declare a resounding “no!” The work is as strenuous as any other occupation yet mothers are penalized with the loss of income and employment status.

Motherhood is the most significant gift given humanity – the rising and raising of a new man. When considering the approximate 320 million children in the world raised by a single parent – most frequently the mother – we cannot ignore the profound vigor and influence demonstrated by women. This is why we insist support for the métier of motherhood must evolve from a social project into a worthy reward.

The power of a woman is infinite!

The principles of the philosophy of female influence

Principle 1

Levels of influence are not equivalent to place in social hierarchies.

The definition of social influence is being held captive by social hierarchies. Individuals at the top of the social hierarchy are considered most influential. In our opinion, this is wrong. To begin, hierarchy refers to the ranking of members in social groups based on the power or dominance they exhibit, whereby some members are superior or subordinate to others. This tells nothing about the true level of influence within the social group. Second, the binding of influence to status rather than personality deprives this phenomenon of subjectivity. We are convinced that it is the personality and its free self-fulfillment that is the source of influence. While social status may afford significant opportunity to change the status quo, to become a catalyst of positive change -  it is opportunity and responsibility, but not influence.

Principle 2

The criteria for impact assessment should be qualitative, not quantitative.

Measuring influence by place on the Forbes list, number of subordinates, tallied votes, or length of time in political power is not effective. In Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It’s not worth the tears of that one tortured child… It’s not worth it, because those tears are unatoned for.”

We can apply this method of thinking to the measurement of influence. The cost of legitimate influence must not be the victimization of another. The expression of power as forcibly subordinating a person or their interests to oneself or own interest is not influence. Influence cannot exist where choice does not.

We use qualitative criteria to assess levels of influence. Above all, we recognize the values a person exemplifies in present and for future generations, what they offer in deeds, the legacy they leave within people, in codified word and art, and the infinite they etch in the memories of those they have touched.

Only by rethinking influence through qualitative criteria can a platform for sustainable social development be created.

Principle 3

Gender equality is absolutely necessary, but the strategy to develop women’s potential lies in recognizing the gender difference.

Equal social rights – the right to education, equal pay, access to health care, reproductive rights – are absolutely essential. Women everywhere should be the right to control their bodies and choose their partners.

But if we depicted the emancipation of women and the development of women’s influence in pyramid form (similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), equal rights would at its base and above them would sit the cooperation resulting from honoring the differences between women and men, above that would sit women’s influence and resulting infinite power. Equal rights establishes the foundation and the strategic levels of women’s influence based on the rights rise above it.

We are grateful for the women and men who have forged a path to equal rights over the centuries and we celebrate those who battle on the front line today. Sadly, this war is not over. We aim to imagine, identify, and implement strategic levels of unique female influence as a complementary approach to equality and equity.

Principle 4

Women have many ways of influencing; we distill them into the Six Modes of Influence: Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Citizens, Creators, Muses and Mothers.

We distinguish these modes by the unique resources required for the fulfillment of the role and their resulting influence. The Entrepreneur changes the world by creating new products and offering new services, managing commerce and capital as a resource. The Professional applies specialized skills and abilities with a high level of mastery. The Citizen’s resource is her principles and activities used to change social relations and social systems. The Creator generates what is new and never before seen or accomplished. The Muse is inspiration personified. The Mother carries, births. and educates the child – a unique role available only to women.

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