Cooperation for Female Success: Rhetorical Question or Thought Catalyst?

Re-posted from Institute of Managers and Leaders Blog

With International Women’s Day approaching, I was asked by the team at the Institute of Managers and Leaders to reflect on whether women need the cooperation of men to succeed. This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. It is a subject that requires deep interpretation and certainly commands the antithesis of a black and white driven response. The many complexities and considerations this question seeks of us to resolve, warrants us to stop and think.

Challenge rhetorical questions

Perhaps the question is rhetoric in nature, devoid of needing a response because cooperation is considered an underlying assumption, a mechanism perfected through the evolutionary ages of man and thus, fundamental across all spectrums of life. Or is that simply wishful thinking?

Alas, what we know is that humans evolve at different rates, largely dictated by parenting, culture, education and the collection of life experiences where insight anticipates the transcendence of ill behavioural patterns turning us into thoughtful, mature and well-refined individuals.

However, on this life journey, we also see the continuum of individual thought or lack thereof; we see that some are less thoughtful than others and this is the crux of my argument, the heart of the matter and the core of our debate. This is where I would like to shine the spotlight because without deep thought and even deeper introspection, the evolutionary journey of one’s mind either stagnates or more problematically, withers and along with it, the vital chance to positively influence the trajectory of collective human consciousness.

Keep thinking, the catalyst for cooperation

This debate question poses significant dilemmas where more questions are unearthed the longer and more deliberate a plausible response reveals itself. These require, yet again, deeper analysis and deliberate thought. How do we catalyse insight and introspection? How do we increase the rate of individual thoughtfulness? How do we become more sophisticated in our thinking? How do we take a broader perspective, encouraging the myriad of shades of thought that any topic demands as a response? These questions are important because this is the type of thinking that underpins cooperation. At the heart of cooperation is thinking!

Join the conversation

We cannot advance and progress as equal genders unless we think, together. We cannot transcend ill behavioural patterns without thinking as one. We cannot catalyse the evolutionary trajectory of human consciousness without thinking cooperatively.

So back to the original question. Do women need the cooperation of men to succeed? I ask you, the reader, to make up your own mind, to observe your own thoughts, to consider what is true for you. I ask you to think about the answer, or perhaps, the myriad of other questions that spring to mind when you ponder such a multifarious topic. My response should be null and void to you. All I propose through this article is a perspective to catalyse thought, however, it is up to you, the reader, to determine an apt response.

The Institute of Managers and Leaders will host the International Women’s Day Great Debate on Friday, 8th March. This year’s topic, ‘Her aspiration needs his cooperation’, is the centrepiece in an event seeking to change Australian society by creating, supporting and championing women in leadership. Book now for our events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Toowoomba or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About the author

T.A. Kiaos Ph.D (c) is an Organisational Anthropologist specialising in critical ethnographic research methods. T.A. Kiaos' research spans several interconnected topics: the underlying systems of cultural and sub-cultural meaning, managerial ideology and normative control, with a particularly strong focus on how these interconnected phenomena affect marginal cohorts in the workplace.


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