Patriarchy and Women in the Workplace

While we have come far in the last 50 years … tremendous technological growth, global diversity awareness, economic growth for 2nd and 3rd world nations … the American workplace still remains a bastion of the old patriarchal values. And nowhere is this more evident than in the political arena.
Patriarchy is not about gender. It is about a set of beliefs, attitudes, and practices that affect both men and women. It is about the masculine principle gone rogue. In the political and corporate world, the interactions remain aggressively power seeking, defensive, hierarchical, homophobic, competitive, and emotionally disconnected from people and from the earth. The underlying emotion in all of this is fear.

Men imagine that we can keep this fear at bay by accruing power. We have been trained for this since birth, and this power complex is the driving force in most men’s lives. Power is not bad, in and of itself. It is simply the ability to render effective choices. But when our power is misused for egotistical reasons, then it wounds us, and in our pain, we wound others. It keeps us disconnected … from women, from other men, and from our own hearts and souls.

Men are not to blame here, there really is no blame. Men are beautiful, especially when we live from the positive masculine attributes. At our best, we enthusiastically take on a challenge, we focus and differentiate, discern and evaluate, we logically examine issues to determine a clear course of action, we protect and serve. We are curious, determined, loving, fierce, spiritual, passionate. We are good fathers, loyal friends, committed partners and husbands … we are the active principle and the initiating spark of life.

But the workplace, with its blind allegiance to the old value structures, drains men of their life force, asks us to trade in our souls for some false sense of power. It alienates us from ourselves, and from our own caring qualities … it alienates us from the feminine principle.

Women enter the workplace seeking an opportunity to express their creative energies and accomplish something. They seek validation, acceptance, recognition; they desire to be successful and to be appreciated. They want the opportunity to participate on a level playing field, same criteria as men. But the patriarchy takes no prisoners. It asks women to give up the feminine principle as it asks men to do the same. In order to be successful, in order to compete, one must accrue power. And in this model, there is only power over, never empowered with. There is very little room in the workplace for the positive feminine attributes that women embody so well. The absence of a conscious connection to this principle … open and receptive, intuitive, feeling and connected to life … leads to the everyday decisions, small and large, that separate us from life and from the earth, and has led us to this species-threatening precipice. The inconvenient truth is not only about the environment and how we treat Mother Earth. It is about the very nature of the way we build our structures and relationships within the patriarchal consciousness. It is about becoming aware of the life-affirming qualities of the feminine principle, and bringing those actions and attitudes into the workplace and into all of our collective affairs.

It is extremely difficult for men to embody the feminine principle. Everything in our cultural upbringing has told us that this is weakness. In truth, most men are terrified of the feminine, in women and in themselves. We fear our own caring qualities, and we keep this fear at bay by accruing power. Women entering the workplace are forced to adopt the same behaviors. They are unconsciously asked to relinquish their feminine qualities and at some deep level, they comply, thereby giving up the very core of who they are. They trade in being authentic to insure acceptance and success. They trade in their emotional/feeling/intuitive nature for power. Men do it … Women do it.

The #metoo movement has opened doorways for women, giving them access to work opportunities, creative expression, economic success, and the hallways of power. Beware, for it is a dangerous place.