When 50 percent of humanity is neglected, mankind is endangered.
Women and men got together at the California Women’s Conference 2014 to engage in higher levels of partnerships as they address multiple problems plaguing the world. A two-day conference with 10,000 attendees may seem insignificant against the 45 million people displaced due to wars, 101 million children without education, and one billion women assaulted in the world. Perhaps these enormous problems derive from historically neglecting the female side of humanity. The Women’s Conference may be the moments to inspire movements that could prove to resolve many issues.
California first ladies, from Gloria Deukmejian to Maria Shriver, had hosted speakers such as the Dalai Lama, Tony Blair, Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, Condoleeza Rice and Michelle Obama under themes such as “Architects for Change.” In 2014, Patterson led the conference with the theme “Better Together.” Lifting one another up through partnerships was the miracle to make this year’s conference (CWC2014) happen.
Building and strengthening partnerships ran as the core theme through every moment of the conference, dispelling the historical belief that men run businesses best on their own, successes in many areas demonstrate powerful impacts from the feminine part of society. Like revealing a hidden compartment in a treasure box, lifting up the forgotten half of society is proving to be a positive investment for humanity.
In many places, women and the feminine qualities are not yet fully recognized.
In today’s world, boardrooms lack women, medicine is male-centered and girls are prevented from getting an education. Swimming against historical perspectives, experts in fields such as business, education and psychology create new collaborations for change. “We are better together when we set up partnerships, and not work alone, that’s when the magic happens,” states Michelle Patterson, president of the California Women’s Conference. Merging skills from different disciplines make an effective unit.
As a woman emphasizes that the foundation of success lies in working together, smart men agree. “You can be the most gifted or talented individual, but your ability or inability to do relationships well will either make or break your success,” Van Moody, pastor of mega-church, The Worship Center, and author of The People Factor states. Everything comes out of relationship — everything that is working and everything that is not. Diplomatic relations, business partnerships, and marriages either succeed or fail around constructive or caustic dynamics. That is a reason for businesses to include more women in top-level leadership.
The Wall Street Journal Women in Business Conference 2012 reports that current boards struggle to create gender diversity. A higher percent of women are consumers than men. So it stands to reason that better company-customer relationships can be the by-product of including more female voices at the top.
Including women in leadership positions can change the dynamic of an entire organization. The male competitive edge gets rounded with a feminine care-for-one-another mentality. “The real singular issue is — are we in competition and we’re just going to be brutal and competitive or are we going to be in cooperation?” states Berny Dohrmann, chairman of the business leaders educational organization, CEO Space. Balancing the structure of an organization maneuvers businesses into their full potential from bottom up. Individuals are happy and fulfilled as they are cared for as well as motivated.
As the business world opens their eyes to their neglect of human potential, the field of medicine is awakening to specific needs of women that deviate from a male-centered practice. For example, while most medications are only tested on men, they are equally recommended to women. “We [women] don’t function internally like men so why are we given drugs that are tested on men?” asks Michelle King Robson founder of EmpowHer.com providing medical information for women on a grass-root level. These fields have lacked awareness of the feminine side of humanity, acting on a male-centered conscious bias.
An area of profound and conscious neglect is girls’ education. According to a USAID report, the countries that invest in girls’ education have remarkably better social, economic and political status than those who do not.
In the world, 510 million women are illiterate as girls are dropping out of primary school, lacking a basic education. “You can’t get far when you can’t read or write,” states Cynthia Kersey, Chief Humanitarian Officer at the Unstoppable Foundation, whose mission is to ensure that every child on the planet receives access to the life-long gift of education. Kersey further explains, ” Education is freedom…It gives you the option to choose a better way – a better life.” Learning to read along with life skills instruction gives a person the tools to thrive. Important organizations are partnering with local groups to give children, particularly under-served girls, access to schooling. “We invest in local leaders and entrepreneurs on the ground in that country who are implementing solutions.” Shiza Shadid, co-founder of Malala Fund, which is advocating and partnering to give girls access to education.
One girl’s fight for education becomes a worldwide movement, the Malala Fund. One woman’s misfortune grows to a medical resource used by millions, EmpowHer.com. A young girl’s courage to interview a governor rescues a vital convention, the California Women’s Conference. Each miraculous success was built on moments of collaborations. They positively impact all of us towards creating a better world. As 10,000 participants go back to their work empowered by the gathering, the seemingly overwhelming issues in the world may find their day of resolution. The moments of CWC2014 meetings stir movements of change that, in turn, can make miracles.
All quotes are derived from interviews conducted at the California Women’s Conference 2014 in Long Beach California.