Macho politics and the need for femininity

Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin

If you mention gender quotas to me you will probably sense my temperature rise and start to notice the steam emerging from different parts of my body!

I want the best person to get the job but I do absolutely believe that we need to do everything to make sure this can be a woman or a man with no disadvantage to either.

However (this is huge coming from me!) watching the political standoff between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the independent candidates and the other parties as Ireland struggles to form a government reminds me of some of the key messages I heard recently at the Network Ireland, International Women’s Day event.

At the conference Gabrielle Motolla (a very impressive American photographer who lives in Iceland) spoke about the worldwide economic crash and a profound comment that was made at the time that “the banking systems lack of femininity caused many of the problems

It wasn’t that there were too many men involved but the point was there was too much “masculinity” in the mix – too much testosterone, too much macho stuff, too much bravado, too much risk taking, too much ultra competitiveness and too many egos recklessly driving the banking system off the cliff.

All of these characteristics can be demonstrated by men or women but they are typically masculine traits so a gender balance could provide some protection against the potentially dangerous excesses of these traits.

This point really impacted on me – I understood exactly what she was saying and I can see the danger myself of too much of any particular trait in an organisation.

I met a Canadian woman at the same conference who operates a large energy company in Canada and we spoke about this issue. She’s not in favour of quotas but she explained that in her business it would be virtually impossible to manage a team of all men and it would be just as difficult with a team of all women.

In her experience the guys are just too macho and the women are too passive and cautious – she reckons a balance works best and in her industry she reckoned 60/40 works best and this is what she strives for when assembling teams.

With our political impasse at the moment I notice that nearly all of the posturing, which is getting us nowhere is very masculine.

We desperately need to sort this out and get our country back on track – maybe we should introduce some femininity and get this process moving?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

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4 Responses to “Macho politics and the need for femininity”

  1. Jennifer Ritchie Says:

    Dear Greg, I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. I’m an Irish expat / emigrant, however I have recently been discussing with my family the possibility of moving back to Ireland. I’d love our children to grow up with a sense of identity as to where they come from and it would be nice to be close to family again. However, I visited my parents in Meath last week and I got a real feeling of hopelessness from people I spoke to. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I look to men as leaders and to women to provide the balance, the devils advocates, the carers. Ireland needs some strong shoulders to stand on now, it is such a great country but without a great leader her identity is lost. In the current political climate, we need to have confidence in ourselves and a real sense of identity. I want my children to be Irish and proud!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Thanks Jennifer for this fantastic feedback – I hope you and your family will make it back to Ireland. It is a great country and getting better the whole time.

      We are missing that great leader at the moment I feel, male or female!


  2. JW McCabe (@writingjwmccabe) Says:

    Well, you can be Irish and proud if ya’ll quit playing all these stupid games. Look just hire whoever is best for the job. Stop acting as if there is some magic number or that men are better leaders. Men are better at not getting their feelings hurt,because they are conditioned that way.

    Also, stop looking for a leader, you are not children, you are not at war. Look for a representative ( if you must) but stop this whole we need a leader to guide us non sense. Guide yourselves or you region in the manner that is effective. Forcing quotas is absurd. I would be offended as a woman if I was a quota pick. I am beginning too see why an Irishman wrote the manifest destiny doctrine for the US.

    Instead of all this help us, we are weak. He decided feck this ”You are responsible for you”


    • Greg Canty Says:

      I’m not for quotas at all but I can see the damage of some of the ‘macho’, saving face posturing at the moment instead of a different approach. I;m glad I got your temperature up though ..success!!

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