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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/2/14

Gender Equality is Essential to our Survival as a Species

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Message John Coombes

Although we are seeing the emergence of a more balanced society in some areas as women take their rightful place, it is painfully slow. In Bolivia, for example, in January 2010, 50 percent of the cabinet ministers appointed were women.

Redressing the imbalance of gender in this violent country now offers the first-ever opportunity for women to play a critical role in changing the traditional political and environmental landscapes.

I would further venture that , provided they have been fully empowered, this new feminine influence will lead to a calming of the continuous conflict experienced by Bolivia's people. I would also stick my neck out by suggesting this could happen within decades rather than centuries.

In the commercial arena there are many exciting developments. Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, has harnessed the web to introduce one of the world's first peer-to-peer micro-lending platforms. Since its launch in 2005, Kiva has facilitated over $436M in loans, connecting lenders and entrepreneurs around the world.

By seeking to create relationships beyond financial transactions, building partnership relationships -- characterised by mutual dignity and respect, it is encouraging our natural unification as a species within the new global environment.

This last point strongly supports my argument about the equal contribution women have to, and must make, in society. The thinking behind the work of Kiva.org goes beyond short-term profit by understanding, from a female perspective, who and what we are as a species.

The future growth of this enlightened banking will, I am certain, be recognised not only for its commercial skills, but by its longer-term humanitarian philosophy. Women have a different perspective on life to men and this difference translates into a less confrontational and more compassionate approach.

This difference in attitude can again be seen in Iceland, where two women set up a new financial-services business in 2007, and survived the financial Armageddon in their country a year later. Halla Tomasdottir and Kristin Petursdottir steered Audur Capital through the financial storm with five feminine values that directed the financial services their company provided.

These values are:

a) Independence in thinking and operating to be able to put their clients' interests first and not be compromised.

b) Risk awareness. That they only invested in what they understand (as opposed to the sub-prime mortgage market promoted by their male counterparts and which nobody understood).

c) Straight talking. Where the downside of the risk is brought into the open and discussed, as well as the positive features of any deal.

d) Emotional capital. Not only is Financial 'due diligence' practised, but also 'emotional' due diligence. This is underwritten by the belief that, whilst spreadsheets are important to financial dealings, it is people who actually make the profits and losses.

e) Profit principles. Whilst it is essential for profits to be realised from any venture, this is not the sole criterion. 'Profit Plus' denotes their criteria and looks for long-term positive environmental and social benefits, as well as making money.

What these ladies are achieving exemplifies a new approach and balance from the singular thinking of the past.

Whilst women relentlessly pursue their rightful place as equal members of team humanity, there is also a responsibility upon men to recognise the failings of the traditional imbalance that has existed within our species.

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Author and campaigner for people empowerment through a global charter based upon Magna Carta which, 800 years ago brought an abusive 1% back under control until 150 years ago. Did it then can do it now!
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Gender Equality is Essential to our Survival as a Species