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Feminine Power

Letter to Dr. Marcie Bianco in reponse to her recent article in Quartz.


Reading “The Future of Feminism” in Quartz, I am concerned that the references you cite depart from the masculine framework for gender relations.

Many have also questioned whether strict “equality” is desirable, even if attainable. Diversity implies difference, if only in particulars. In the case of the genders, biology guarantees that there will never be strict equality.

My recommendation is a focus on “fairness.” Patriarchies do tend toward the centralization of power (to paraphrase Unamuno: “every man wishes to rule the world”). Practices of fairness – returning value commensurate to an individual’s contribution – will be interpreted by the “establishment” as a form of resistance to centralization. There is more to fairness than that, though. Fairness creates robust networks of trust.

My observations and research on “matriarchies” tends to support the conclusion that this is what women naturally seek. They give support to those that suffer, empowering them to think proactively rather than reactively.

I understand that “robust” is difficult to quantify. My belief, though, is that “robust” is the metric that feminists should pursue as alternative to the calculus of power (“What percentage of CEOs are women?”). I was heartened by Balanced Scorecard methods back in the ’90s (https://hbr.org/1992/01/the-balanced-scorecard-measures-that-drive-performance-2). Unfortunately, in the interim exploitation of foreign labor and resources has made it too easy for the economic elite to centralize resources, and such disciplines don’t appear to have become part of American management culture.

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