Posted by: Hannah Hill | January 31, 2018

Embrace the Change

Out of all the topics we have discussed so far in class, one of the most interesting to me has been the concept of not being afraid of change but rather being afraid of loss. I found this concept to be very interesting because I have always thought that I was afraid of change but after carefully thinking have learned I am more concerned with the things that I am potentially losing. This concept is especially interesting when considering men in leadership. As we discussed last class, we as a society do not often consider where the opposite gender is coming from. For example, I have always had the opinion that women deserve an equal chance to lead and that most men simply don’t care or disagree. What I failed to understand is that maybe the reason some men aren’t so quick to accept the change is because they are consumed with fears for what they may be losing.

By acknowledging where men are coming from maybe women can gain a better understanding as to why they are so hesitant to give up their positions. I originally assumed that men were too confident to step down from a position or want a woman to be in power but the real reason could actually be quite different. I now see that maybe some men are just afraid of what they will do next or afraid of losing something that they’ve always had. Even though male dominance shouldn’t just be assumed maybe men are afraid of losing it because it is what they have always known. Some of these opinions might not be right or justified but should still be recognized as adequate feelings.

I admittedly can say that I have been very closed minded when it came to women in leadership. Until recently I have had the view that women deserve to lead and men are just too consumed in their own lives to support women leaders. I now recognize that this does not represent all men and in order for women to lead successfully we as a society need to recognize the opinions and views of the opposite gender. We have to stop boxing people into personalities that we assume they have and instead recognize that everyone is different. Men and women need to work together to fix gender inequality. We have to learn to embrace the change and recognize that with the losses that some people will experience, we as a society have so much to gain.

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Responses

  1. I also thought our reading about people being afraid of loss was interesting. I have had in in the back of my mind every since – it can be applied to any situation, not just women in leadership.

    I also agree that we cannot keep boxing people into a certain stereotype. However, as we have mentioned in class, it is difficult not to do this, since we have to find a way to make sense of the world around us. I think the best compromise is to try and meet people with an open mind. Inevitably, we will have suspicions about a persons behavior, depending on their gender, physical appearance or first impression. I think it is important to recognize this stereotype, and then remind yourself that everyone is different. Having stereotypes can be a good jumping off point to learn more about the person, as long as it is a flexible stereotype, and not boxing someone in!

    We are all guilty of this, and I think this class has helped open everyone’s eyes as to how many subconscious stereotyping we do (especially the second generation stereotyping that we were talking about last class). Change will always be difficult, but as a society we have to remind ourselves to look at what we can potentially gain, rather than what might be lost.

  2. This quote in the reading stuck out to me also! I can see how many would be hesitant. With the whole idea of “equalism,” the men don’t see it as an equal opportunity because they fear the loss of their job. I’ve realized that instead of having women replace men in leadership positions, we need to learn how to work together. Men and women need to teach each other their strengths, so that they’re both better leaders. I can understand why men feel like women holding leadership positions would be jeopardizing their careers. I agree with you, male dominance shouldn’t be assumed. As a society, I feel that we tend to think all men act the same, but we all need to realize that every man is different. Sure, there will be some that will not accept women as a leader, but other men who will work with women and respect them. I would love to know if this opinion is shared among many men, or just the author who wrote the reading? Altogether, everyone needs to work together to achieve “equalism.”

  3. I agree that I never considered what men would be losing if women obtained more leadership positions. Not only would it be difficult for them to adjust to the shift of power but they might also struggle with their identity. If society defines a man by his power, influence, and superiority over women they may be concerned about how society will view them if they are no longer in that position of power.

  4. I too have been consistently thinking about the concept of loss in relation to what we are talking about in class. I actually just had a conversation with my boyfriend about how important it is for men and women to understand where the other is coming from. Until as a soceity, we come to a point where we are standing on a ground of mutual understanding and respect, the changes that need to be made in society will never be fully an successfully made. Half of the world is made up of men. It’s their world too. It is important to acknowledge that in some ways, we are asking a lot of them to change behaviors and thought-processes. How can we expect men to want to or be willing to promote and encourage positive change if we do not even give them the time of day to listen to their expressions of how they are feeling or their ideas? I think that if each gender made the conscious effort to listen – and by listen, I mean really listen and digest what is being said – we could move many steps in the right direction of achieving what we want to achieve.

  5. The reading that discussed people being afraid of loss rather than change was also very interesting to me. I have never thought about change in that sense. I used to think a person was afraid of change because they were afraid of the unknown, not because they were afraid to lose something.

    Your comments about how you have changed your mindset on resistant male leaders are similar to my own. Not all male leaders view women as incompetent and unable to perform leadership. Many of these men are just afraid of losing opportunities for themselves. If there are women applying for positions that men want, that means that men are faced with more competition, and they may be less likely to get the position in the end. Some of these men that are hesitant to allow women to gain a higher status in a company may just be worried that if a woman takes the position they want, then there is no other opportunity for the men to move up. This would then affect their personal lives because they are not receiving the raise they were hoping they would. So now I understand why some men are resistant to female leadership. I think it is important for women to recognize this. Having this information will decrease a woman’s negative opinions about men and hopefully cause them to stop thinking that all men want to hold all women back.

  6. I remember when I read that article the quote, it really struck me and has stayed in my thoughts as well. I even wrote it in my notes and starred it. In general terms, we always think we are afraid of change but that quote made e realize too that maybe i’m not afraid of change but afraid of what I will lose. After I read it and applied to the leadership aspect, I could see where it came from. The fact that with the increase of women in positions that used to be held only by men, there is this added competition not only to other male applicants but now women, and the stakes are higher. The loses are higher.
    I think it might be heightened especially in countries and companies that have quotas for women representation. With the rigid quota, some unqualified women could potentially be higher over a more qualified male applicant. Although hypothetical and not all women are under qualified, but it could be a loss that males can be experiencing and thinking about.

    I definitely agree with your statement with beginning to stop the boxing of people and their identities. Even people among the same group, lets say women scientists, are different. We can keep compartmentalizing people into stereotypes, assumptions, and identities/genders we can place not hem before we get to know them and their leadership style. Just as the last reading we had about higher execution, the department chair mentioned that the first thing that came to mind wasn’t that she is a competent scientist, it was she’s a women and an Asian American. This goes along with us doing gender on people.

    We can’t do on to men what they have done to us in the past because no progress will be made. If we want to raise women and show their potential, we can’t do it without both genders understanding both are competent however different in many aspects but the reason shouldn’t be gendered. If we continually raise women while doing the opposite to men, the world could flip and no progress would be made. Men would experience exactly what their ancestors have done throughout history. If we educate each other and motivate to be the best leader though understanding how to handle situations, people, and strategies to use, without a gender aspect tied to it a double-bind could no longer exist. Men wouldn’t experience this “loss” to a “women” it would be based upon other qualities.


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