Billions of people confidently declare that God is their leader. Then what happens? Those billions of people make trillions of personal decisions every day. These self-leadership decisions are defining the future of civilization.
Men Still Rule
Advances in women’s rights are notable, but men still dominate human leadership. Globally, men hold more than 95% of civilization’s traditional leadership positions, in government, law, commerce, agriculture, education, medicine, military affairs, science and religion. Even in advanced societies, a woman’s right to vote, own property, inherit, get an education and run for office are recent developments.
God Save the Queen
This is why the recent decision by 16 commonwealth nations to change the law governing royal succession is not trivial. Up to now the crown could pass to a daughter only when there were no sons. Under the new law, if the firstborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a girl, she is entitled to become heir to the throne. A firstborn daughter takes precedence over younger brothers.
So humanity moves one small step closer to accepting the equality of genders in leadership. Three cheers for the people who brought us the Magna Carta and the King James Version of the Bible, and who led the 19th-century suppression of human slavery. Queens Elizabeth I, 45 years in power, and Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, have long been counted among civilization’s greatest leaders.
Might Made Right
How did men get to be in charge? Most men probably believe tradition, law, custom and religion declare that they are meant to lead. Consider this simpler approach to answering the question: Might made right.
During the past 200,000 years, men took over because human males on average are taller and heavier than females, with greater reach and superior upper-body strength. Might these powerful physical advantages have been the original cause of male domination subsequently institutionalized in tradition, law, custom and religion?
Violence Against Women
To what extent has violence against women, going back tens of thousands of years, contributed to male domination of human leadership? Most of the following conditions are commonplace now; this is not a theoretical list: “Sex-selective abortion; effects of battering; female infanticide; physical, sexual and psychological abuse; female genital mutilation; incest; child prostitution; dating and courtship violence (e.g., acid throwing and date rape); economically coerced sex; sexual abuse in the workplace; sexual harassment; forced prostitution; trafficking in women; partner violence; marital rape; and murders.” See http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/digest6e.pdf.
It’s dangerous for a complex civilization of 7 billion people to depend on jungle-law hierarchy for leadership selection. Twenty-first-century civilization needs to recruit every person to become more fully engaged in constructive human leadership. Traditions that constrain the leadership development of any person because of his or her gender are outmoded.
This is not about which gender is boss. The genders have been co-managing humanity since Homo sapiens’ first day. Gender alliance is our critical human relationship. The next queen of England will be one of billions of women who are rising to leadership positions in the second decade of the 21st century.