We asked the founder of Whitespace, Karren Brooks, for her thoughts on International Women’s Day and the selected theme of “Balance is Better.”
Karren reminded us that this is not a new holiday but has been celebrated in most countries for over one hundred years. While the initial Women’s Day was dedicated to the celebration of women’s suffrage, it has evolved to an international call for gender equality in all facets of life. Karren mentions that there is an alphabet of countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia, which actually celebrate March 8 with a National Holiday. She continues quoting from the International Women’s Day website which states, “ ‘balance’ is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.”
Whitespace has been promoting women with their offering of S.A.S.S.Y.Y. training (Self Assured Self Starting Yin and Yang). This training which has been delivered to business groups of both men and women, draws on Eastern philosophy which recognises the importance of ‘balance’ in all aspects of life. Whitespace is a strong proponent of equality in the Boardroom states Karren, “because it actually improves business decision making and not just because of government mandates or political pressure.”
Whitespace incorporates the latest neuroscientific research into its training and methodology, says Karren, and hastens to add “women’s brains are different than men’s brains.” It is commonly accepted wisdom that men are more logical and women more emotional and science has attempted to explain this stereotype by measuring right and left brain activity. The previous conclusions, which confirmed gender stereotypes, using brain wave measurements, have been refuted by the latest scanning technology says, neuroscientist, Gina Ripon of the University of Aston in Birmingham.
Are Men’s Brains Bigger?
One clear example of these erroneous stereotypical conclusions, mentions Karren, is “Men’s brains are bigger because men are, on average, larger than women, but the common knowledge that bigger is better is obviously not true, as evidenced by large brained mammals, including whales and elephants, which have far less cognitive abilities than humans.”
The latest science shows, that both mens’ and womens,’ brains are equally “plastic” and trainable; what we learn is far more important than brain differences, between the sexes. These recent brain studies confirming gender similarities have been used to provide the UK government with evidence to mandate more female representation in the British Board Rooms.
Balance in the Boardroom
The Financial Times Business Editor, Sarah Gordon reported in June of 2018 that “Britain’s public companies will need to appoint women to 40 per cent of their board positions over the next two years if they are to meet government-backed targets to improve gender diversity at the top of UK plc.” Gordon also quoted Philip Hampton, who cited the Hampton-Alexander review of women on boards, said “at the halfway point since the targets were set in 2016, far too many companies still had no women — or only one woman — on their board.”
Ms. Brooks says, “the harmony which ‘balance’ brings in daily life, while desirable, is seldom pursued by business leaders. Until the accepted business wisdom believes that improved performance is a direct result from gender equality, then and only then, will gains toward gender equality and balance be realised.”
Karren Brooks says, “both men and women require courage to reach the desired ‘balance’ of gender equality, and recites one of her favourite quotes,”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
~ Anais Nin, French-American diarist, essayist, novelist
Congratulations is the order of the day for all those with the courage to fight for the ‘balance’ celebrated on International Women’s Day.