The annual Academy Debate took place on Wednesday November 13th. This year it was proposed that ‘The world would be a better place with more Women Leaders’. Linda Tu moderated the proceedings. On the Pro side, the debaters were Margrit Eichler and Michael Cole, on the Con side, they were Dan McCabe and Sheila Hickie.
Before the debate the count from the floor was Pro-30, Con-5, abstained/undecided-6. After the debate/at the end, the count from the floor was Pro-32, Con-7, abstained/undecided – 0.
Here is a summary of the arguments:
Pro side: Are women better than men? We do not believe this. What do we mean by leaders? We do not mean populace demagogues, we mean young women like GretaThunberg, who fights for girls, a habitable planet, no war, social justice. We need more women leaders to change our culture because they have personal experience in their own lives. Women care more for their children, family members, community. Misogyny and sexism are obstacles that women who become leaders have to get over. Women are better listeners, kinder, have more compassion, and encourage people to think outside of the box. The culture of companies has to be changed. If a woman was a CEO, would she be thinking money/profit first or would she act ethically over profit? Corporate culture could be different if more women were involved, because women use consensus decision making. Women have to be given a chance to learn. Personal hesitation could give women leverage in decision making.
Con side: Men have great qualities. Leadership is a set of behaviour, skills, organization, ambition, and good leaders are very selective in how they apply ethics. In the journal ‘Human Relations’, it states that ‘men are more transactional, women are more social. Men increase risk taking under stress, women decrease risk taking under stress’. Women are more manipulative and if they get emotional, they carry it around all day. Men are more arrogant and stubborn, these are non gender biases. You really have to want the position of CEO to go after it and achieve your wish.
It is important to note that leaders all have individual characteristics whether male or female. We don’t want to stereotype men and women. Men in business listen to women’s suggestions, show compassion in business, they listen to their female cohorts/staff concerns about finding daycare for their children, they assist them with this problem. Male leader attitude is, make things happen, ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door’. USA President Dwight Eisenhower said, ‘The supreme quality of leadership is integrity – in any field’.
Floor opened up. A summary from the audience’s comments: Leadership is not gender defined; leadership should reflect the wishes of the people, men and women. People at table need to represent community and show leadership ability. Women need to come forward to ask and demand that they want more money. How you handle leadership attributes in a particular situation? What the media agrees and what the citizens perceive is happening are all important components. We need ‘cross fertilization’ between men and women, women need to keep learning, women need to keep supporting other women. Then they will grow strong. Men and women can both be good leaders. There is a need to create more positions. A good leader is not defined by gender, religion or race to make the world a better place.
By Roving Reporter, Janet Broadley