Over the past few years we have witnessed lots of mudslinging and accusations of sexism that highlight the problems plaguing our politics. Men and women are different and have different leadership styles but women can only advance to become leaders in politics if they adopt male leadership methods. Women have to become better than men at what men do best if they want to become leaders. So that means we are missing out on the advantages of having women in parliament, and may as well have just all males.
Rather than have a change in leaders, I believe we need a change in the make-up of the leadership. The office of prime minister is not mentioned in our constitution. It is conventional for that title to be bestowed on the leader of the party that wins the most votes in an election. Therefore, it is possible, if the winning party so chooses, for the office of prime minister to be filled by a partnership of a female and a male with equal responsibilities and powers.
Our society is half male and half female. Our leadership should reflect that fact.
There is a difference between male and female leadership styles even though both can be great leaders. Males and females have many common traits and skills but have some differences in needs and interests, and therefore have different views on some things.
Australia could lead the world by being the first to have a balanced leadership team in which a male and a female have equal responsibility and equal power, even though they may agree to perform different tasks within that position.
Some advantages of co-leadership are:
Balanced leadership resulting from combining the gender leadership styles.
The glass ceiling would be destroyed because women would have a permanent role in top level management.
Women would no longer have to adopt male ways in order to succeed and would be free to explore what ‘the female leadership style’ really means.
The focus of debates would necessarily shift, from winning to seeking agreement.
Accepting the value of gender differences would greatly improve gender relationships.
Robust discussions might still occur but would seek understanding and agreement in regard to the actions to take.
Conflict resolution and gender relationship skills would be important factors in choosing leaders and would become major subjects of school curriculums.
The flow-on effect of this would be a reduction in domestic violence, longer marriages and a reduction in divorces.
Overall, there would be real cultural recognition of the equal status of men and women.
So, after all the laughter and jokes about my suggestion subside, and after expressing all the reasons why it would never work, or be accepted, think about the advantages and how it could be made to work. This is the type of leadership required for solving the enormous problems we face in this century.