Posted by: gtaube15 | April 16, 2018

Tempered Radicalism

Two of the three presentations given on Wednesday discussed female leaders that practiced tempered radicalism: Haifaa Al-Mansour and Malala Yousafzai. These women were from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Therefore, they were both from areas that oppressed women. These two faced many struggles because they grew up as females and were not exposed to the same rights that men were.

Haifaa and Malala wanted to make a difference and change the way realities looked for women from their countries. Haifaa was a film director that produced the first ever movie that was completely filmed in Saudi Arabia. She faced many difficulties in directing the movie since she was female and unable to work alongside her male counterparts. Malala is an activist for female education and is passionate about allowing young girls to have access to receiving an education.

These women were disliked by many of their people. Some did not agree that what Haifaa and Malala were doing was right. There were traditionalists that tried to stand in their way. However, Haifaa and Malala still wanted to make a difference. They had to settle on utilizing tempered radicalism in order to change the way their societies looked. Haifaa specifically mentioned in interviews that she needed to focus on small wins. She knew that she was not able to make changes quickly. Malala was able to be slightly more direct due to her family, but she still did not have the power on her own to make any substantial changes overnight.

Do you think Malala and Haifaa had to rely on tempered radicalism because of the nature of the societies where they are from? Or do you think tempered radicalism is a tactic that most women from all around the world utilize? I think Malala and Haifaa were forced to have to settle on tempered radicalism because they did not have the power to make substantial changes on their own. Their people did not respect them, so there was little that they could do. However, that being said, I think women from all countries utilize tempered radicalism. Even though it is slow, it is an effective way to go about change. There are women everywhere that must be subservient to men. These women are unable to make major changes on their own, so they have to focus on celebrating small wins. There are other women out there that are just not confident enough to speak their minds and work towards making a change. Regardless of what the reasoning is, I think tempered radicalism is very prevalent amongst society today and especially with women.

I attached an article from the Harvard Business School about tempered radicalism below. It explains the different ways people are able to inspire change in the workforce.


  1. I loved learning about Malala and Haifaa; they’re both respectable women who aren’t afraid of change. I definitely think they had to rely on tempered radicalism because of where they are from, and I’m sure many other women rely on tempered radicalism because of their social situations. We are very fortunate to live in a country with free speech–I think that’s something we often take for granted.
    I think tempered radicalism is a way keep yourself relatively safe while doing something new. From what I remember learning, Malala went under a pseudonym for her blog to protect herself. Yes, she could have said who she was when she started her blog, but then upset people would have found her much sooner and would have probably killed her–and she wouldn’t be much of an advocate for change, but rather a public example of what happens when you try to change. Perhaps her death would have sparked something new, but I’m curious to know how many women are killed from acting out and the public does nothing to stop it?
    Tempered radicalism can be a great tactic as well. With Haifaa, she went through so many obstacles to ensure her film would be filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia. If she disrespected the main religion and the societal structure, I doubt she would be allowed to continue filming. While it was difficult to make, her passion outshone the hardships, which shows perseverance and I’m sure it is inspiring for many women and girls.
    I don’t think either of them had to simply settle for tempered radicalism. They were smart, found the best route, and moved forward with passion and confidence. Perhaps other women are afraid to speak their minds to move towards change because the outcome is dangerous. Hopefully they will learn about these women and know that it is possible to create change.

  2. I think this brings up a very interesting point and I agree that Haifaa and Malala probably did have to settle with using tempered radicalism in order to create change. In class, Kymbre brought up a good point when answering a question about the idea that many of these traditional religions actually believe that women are second class and incorrectly use literature to back up these beliefs. I think if these women had tried to approach the idea of change with a more authoritarian approach, they would have had an even larger backlash than what occurred. I think the approach of tempered radicalism was a well thought out plan by these women in order to really achieve what they wanted.

  3. Haifaa and Malala have both made progress for women equality in their respective cultures. I think in societies that have more masculine qualities, it’s going to be made more difficult to communicate equality with the traditionalists who strongly oppose this way of life. I believe that figuring out that tempered radicalism will benefit the public in the more successful way is essential for female leaders in these cultures. Changes were not made overnight in these societies. Both of these women have to continuously work to advocate for a change. Tempered radicalism isn’t the fastest process, but given the culture, it is necessary because sudden change will result in negative feedback and regression.
    To answer your question, I believe that Haifaa and Malala had to use this approach. I feel that within any culture that is heavily dominated by males or have been traditionally masculine, tempered radicalism is the best approach for leadership. I don’t believe that all women have to utilize this approach around the world because of the differing cultures and norms.

    What if a woman does not want to utilize tempered radicalism because of the slow process? Is there another way for women to have quick progress while also not being overbearing?

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