Women Define Leadership

In The Female Eunuch back in 1970, Germain Greer argued, “If women understand by emancipation the adoption of the masculine role, then we are lost indeed.  If women can supply no counterbalance to the blindness of the male drive, the aggressive society will run to its lunatic extremes at ever-escalating speed.”

A female leader is, by definition, different from a male leader.  As human beings, each is deserving of equal dignity, but as woman and man, they naturally bring different qualities to leadership, qualities that are complementary, and should not be the source of conflict.  Tragically, given the narcissistic mindset of Modernity, conflict is the norm.

There are remedies for the “war between the sexes”, and strong evidence that they work.  Establishment elites clearly take advantage of the benefits of marriage, and I know countless marriages that are very happy indeed.  The high divorce rate is no reflection of the viability of marriage, but rather a consequence of the war on marriage and the family unleashed by modern ideologies.  All of them promote promiscuity, pornography, abortion, and solo parenting, which are patently hostile to family life, and manifestly more damaging to women and children, though loneliness, inadequacy, and futility devastate the male ego.

The stark reality is that governments, the bureaucracy, corporations, the mainstream media, academia, and the professions have not the slightest interest in curing the social dysfunction crushing society, for the obvious reason that it is the foundation of their power and wealth.

Look at the percentage of GDP that flows from the sex industry, the mental health industry, the pharmaceutical giants, drug trafficking, people trafficking, prisons, law and order, an entertainment industry that thrives on sex and violence, and the toxic and divisive social media platforms.  A real reduction in the social dysfunction would greatly reduce the profits of the most powerful corporations, and also remove the need for the bloated bureaucracies that weigh down western taxpayers.  Moreover, a fearful, divided citizenry is easy to control.

Ironically, it was a woman, Shulamith Firestone, the Canadian-American radical feminist activist, who provided a prophetic voice for the absurd socio-political experiments of today in her 1970 book, The Dialectic of Sex.  She proposed the seductive cocktail of progressivism, Marxism, and scientism that characterises establishment elites today.

Reasoning that the Marxist vision of equality required the dismantling of the natural family, Firestone believed the technological domination of the natural world would enable the eradication of traditional culture and radically transform society.  She saw the natural differences between the sexes as the greatest obstacle to equality, and believed human nature to be entirely plastic, ready to be reshaped in the interests of self-expressive liberation.

Control of human biology, especially reproduction, was essential to Firestone’s agenda, and she anticipated the replacement of human beings altogether, embracing cybernetics, the precursor of AI with enthusiasm.  Humanity would be liberated from all biological categories, and would enjoy “natural polymorphous sexuality” in a life free from consequences for all behaviour.  She was apparently oblivious to the irony of her conviction that the fulfilment of human nature required the technological dismantling of human nature.

Firestone’s vision of a Marxist revolution driven by the technological innovations of unfettered capitalism helped lay the dubious intellectual foundations of today’s Woke phenomenon in corporations, academia, media and entertainment industries, and our bloated bureaucracies.  Given her radically anti-human diagnosis of the human condition, it is hardly surprising that Firestone suffered severe mental illness, largely schizophrenia, from the age of 28, and that she died as a recluse in 2012.

Tellingly, the society that has steadily implemented the program she envisioned now exhibits the symptoms of degenerative mental illness.  The nonsensical refusal to define “woman”, the cynical admission of men into female bathrooms, the celebration of men as “Woman of the Year”, the invasion of women’s sports by shameless male athletes, the manipulative objectification of women fueled by unrestrained male lust, the absurdity of a promiscuous society decrying male infidelity, sexual depravity, and violence, and the insidious denigration of women who continue to take their roles as mother and heart of the family seriously, are all indicative of an inability to reason that clearly signals mental illness.

For women to go along with this malign and unscientific nonsense, would be to consign our civilisation to oblivion.  Leadership demands from women and men a resolute commitment to the transcultural realities of truth and virtue.  Sadly, the incessant demands of lust and power, and the propensity for violence, make the restoration of male virtue a much greater challenge.  We desperately need women to set the recovery in process.

The leadership program I have run for two decades repeatedly confirms the natural affinity women have for leadership.  By far the greater percentage of outstanding leaders emerging from the program are women, and their participation has led me to a much deeper understanding of the dynamics of leadership.  All of these women achieve their success by being emphatically female, rejecting the male model so entrenched by Modernity.  They use their human attributes of intellect and free will to confront challenges with vision, virtue, and vigilance, and they embrace their natural empathy, respect, and compassion to build relationships and community, and to inspire people instead of bullying them.

For what are the virtues of leadership other than the Cardinal Virtues of classical philosophy – practical wisdom, courage, rational self-development, and justice, that is, giving to each person what is due to them?  Woke western deceit rejects practical wisdom, undermines courage, sabotages rational self-development, and corrupts the very idea of justice, the cornerstone of true community.  It also dismisses the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, in which women have always demonstrated a marked superiority over men.

Women do indeed define leadership, and have the innate capacity to inspire leadership in men.  That is a powerful source of hope for our troubled world.


Andre van Heerden
Andre van Heerden
ANDRE heads the corporate leadership program The Power of Integrity, and is the author of three books on leadership, Leaders and Misleaders, An Educational Bridge for Leaders, and Leading Like You Mean It. He has unique qualifications for addressing the leadership crisis. Since studying law at Rhodes University, he has been a history teacher, a deputy headmaster, a soldier, a refugee, an advertising writer, a creative director, an account director on multinational brands, a marketing consultant, and a leadership educator. He has worked in all business categories on blue-chip brands like Toyota, Ford, Jaguar, Canon, American Express, S C Johnson, Kimberley Clark, and John Deere, while leadership coaching has seen him help leaders and aspirant leaders in Real Estate, Retail, the Science Sector, Local Government, Education, Food Safety, Banking, and many other areas.

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  1. An Interesting read, Andre van Heerden.

    The thought it brings up is how Masculinity and Femininity is different from men and women. That is how Geert Hofstede could use these words for what has since been renamed Competition Culture and Caring culture.

    What I read into your piece is a lament that the US culture in particular and the industrialized world in general are overly competitive at the sacrifice of collaboration and care – or I could write “Christian in name only”.

    Perhaps the answer is not in promoting women over men but in allowing all human beings to have access and ownership to all their abilities – men to sensitivity and women to aggression – without shaming them for being sissy or bossy/bitch/butch.

  2. A great article Andre. It would be good if it could become compulsary reading at university. My person qualification of a leader is, “The impression that he or she leaves in my mind” – in other words, what can I keep in my mind about him or her? The one root cause for the lack of leadership, is the general degeneration of the human character. The world is in desperate need of real women and real men with character who present themselves for who they are and not what they try to be. Thank you again for this article. Lots to ponder about.

    • Thank you Tobie – we certainly need men and women of character to stand up in this dangerous situation in our troubled world. But it is happening, and more and more courageous people are raising their voices against the creeping totalitarianism that threatens us.

  3. It has been my experience that leadership is not gender specific. I have known and worked with many great leaders, both male and female. I’ve also had exposure to both males and females that were horrible leaders. Bullying tyrants that totally destroyed all potential within their sphere of influence.

  4. I found this quite interesting.It seemed to be written from a women’s point of view. I believe both men and women make good leaders. The trick is just simply being human. Showing care and concern for another’s welfare and wellbeing. Empathy is so important. Women have come along ways. They say behind every good man is a good woman. I believe once we set.our mind to something we see it through. Great article.

    • Thanks Eva – men and women can indeed be great leaders, but as the article says, they bring different strengths to the task, Given the undeniable leadership deficit in the West, men need to address the obvious flaws that have become so widespread, as do women who think they have to be like men to be effective leaders. I appreciate your comments.