In every society in history there has been a gender hierarchy – why? 

I’ve been reading  ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari over the festive break. I’m at about 70% of the way through the ebook and loving it. He has plausible explanations about nearly every issue as part of the human experience.

Even he admits that the chapter on women’s inequality does not come up with plausible explanations.  It must be  one of the most important questions for humanity – so why is there no answer to this?

What I think he has missed  is that for some men and particularly non-listening insecure ones – women represent a dangerous alternative culture. With a completely separate informal communication network under the radar of the establishment.

This I believe goes some way to explain  the glass ceiling problem in large organisations.

Extrovert women talk to everyone at all levels in an organisation and remember everything they hear. If you have something to hide – they will know it. This is particularly ‘disruptive’ for industries that are heavy on hubris (like tech).

On the other hand if you have nothing to hide (you are secure), instead you would want to listen, understand and make use of ideas from the alternative network. In Sapiens it is interesting that he puts gossiping as central to the development of larger societies and trust.

Women are working on a different wavelength / spectrum – it work faster than traditional channels, non sequentially, at multiple levels at once and non-hierarchically.

Sapiens talks about this free association of data and holistic thought – And Ithink it’s particularly powerful if it links up the ideas of people from diverse backgrounds and classes.

It has always been dangerous to be an opionated woman  that speaks up – (see Hypatia) – sometimes you are OK if you have a male boss to provide covering fire.

So minority women can only be tolerated at senior levels in the establishment if they fully submit.

If we want real change and a move to a more decent model of society (rather than the malevolent direction we seem to be headed) we need to make use of this powerful force for positive change. And we need to collectively provide cover to those that speak up. Now more than ever.

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