When we hear the words feminine power, female power, even “girl power,” what comes to mind?
The Hindu Goddess Kali?
The Mother Mary?
The Spice Girls?
Depending on what decade you grew up in, your worldview, and a myriad of other influences, you may have many different answers to the question, what is feminine power?
It may surprise you to find out all humans possess masculine and feminine power, regardless of their gender or background. From the burliest lumberjack to staunch feminists, to weight-lifting gym rats, we all have some level of feminine power.
The truth is, feminine power has nothing to do with being female or even being what we may traditionally think of as “feminine.” To define what is feminine power, we must first understand the feminine qualities each of us possesses.
What is feminine power? It’s the balance to masculine power, the yin and yang, if you will. Right now, we live in a world where society over-values masculine qualities. Yet there’s really a need to balance both sides of the equation, just like two sides of the same coin. In order to be whole, complete, and balanced, we have to empower both our feminine qualities and our masculine qualities.
When we traditionally think of masculine and feminine powers that balance each other out, we may think of:
These are just a few examples, but looking at the list, it should become a little clearer. Neither the feminine or the masculine quality is “bad” or even unnecessary. To be whole, complete human beings, we need both protecting and nurturing qualities. There are times when we need to do, and times when we need to be. Sometimes hard is appropriate, and sometimes it’s better to be soft.
Regardless of the world being out of balance with feminine and masculine power, we can find balance within ourselves by embracing both sides of the equation. In fact, if we don’t embrace our feminine strengths, we may be missing out on opportunities and even further pushing the world out of alignment.
It’s important to understand that feminine power isn’t female. We all have these qualities and when we talk about masculine versus feminine qualities, we aren’t talking about men versus women. In fact, we need each opposing value.
Both traits compliment each other and when either one is out of balance, we don’t get the results we desire.
It brings to mind a story about a major oil company. As you know, working on an oil rig is a dangerous, difficult job. The company had been looking for ways to improve their safety measures and ensure that their workers were taking every precaution necessary. On an oil rig, one misstep or one over-looked move is a matter of life and death.
So, the management of the company decided they would take a different approach to safety. They decided to take a social and emotional intelligence-focused path. What they did was hire a well-known psychologist. She came in to work with the roughnecks and the first thing she did was sit them all down in a room where they started sharing and talking.
Now, at first, many of the men didn’t want to open up and discuss their feelings at all! As you can imagine, these oil rig workers were used to closing off and keeping their feelings in.
But as they started to talk, something amazing happened. Over the few weeks that they worked with the counselor, she started to change the way they viewed each other. They started to engage with each other on a deeper level. They talked about their personal challenges and struggles. They expressed themselves and connected with each other. They increased their social-emotional intelligence.
When they went back to work, something even more amazing happened: their incidence of accidents and mistakes decreased drastically! Once they connected with each other on a different level, they were more open, more likely to watch out for each other, more likely to work as a team, and more likely to be safe.
By tapping into their feminine powers of sharing, opening, receiving, and being vulnerable, they became more “whole” to the benefit of the entire company.
Feminine power is a really important element, but it’s difficult to measure. In some cases, it’s even difficult to define. Masculine power is outward and aggressive. Feminine power is more about quality than quantity, and thus, is harder to quantify.
Feminine power is all about inclusion and connecting. It’s almost more ethereal and mysterious. In this way especially, the nourishing side acts as the perfect complement to masculine power. It’s the softer, more restful, calmer side. It’s the place where we grow and thrive.
There is power in being. There is power in silence. These are two feminine qualities that we may not think of as powerful initially, but as we explore them, the strength becomes apparent. Feminine power is focused on feelings and emotions. Unless you’re truly a robot, you have both feminine and masculine qualities. Every human has the capacity for both, but of course, we don’t always use them.
When feminine and masculine power are brought together, that’s when you see real strength and unstoppable power. Combining that masculine power and force with feminine values is where you really see it come together. That’s when you really start to get it.
For example, I may use my assertiveness (masculine power) to go for what I want at work, but then tap into my feminine skill of listening and creativity to discover new approaches to a problem and lead my team toward a shared vision.
Strong leaders often know how to express both qualities. They may nurture and mentor a colleague to bring out their best, while also ensuring that everyone on the team knows exactly what’s expected. They may be direct in their requests, but intuitive enough to notice when someone on their team is struggling.
As we see examples in society of masculine power and traits, we should also start to look for and value the feminine traits to balance the world. There’s a need to have harmony between feminine and masculine traits both within ourselves and within the world around us. It impacts us and impacts our balance and power as individuals.
For more on balance and personal power, please visit our blog at the Wright Foundation. We invite you to attend our free networking events, including our Women’s Symposium: The Power and Possibilities of Feminine Leadership, taking place soon. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to tap into your feminine power.
About the Author
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.