The Dalai Lama Said That The World Needs More Women Leaders. We Completely Agree But Not Only Because We’re ‘Gentle’
Do you think that if more countries in the world were governed by women, the world would be in much better shape? I think so. There wouldn’t be as many wars, the environment would be much healthier, there would be less hostility among people and we would’ve kicked this pandemic to the curb a long time ago. But, more importantly, women all around the world wouldn’t have to constantly look over their shoulders and sleep with one eye open. We would be relatively safer and all the issues we are facing today would be taken into consideration. We would have an actual voice and adequate representation. Huh, I wonder, what that must feel like. The world would actually be a nicer place to live.
Though all this sounds like a utopian fiction, doesn’t it? But, it’s not. Just look at Finland or New Zealand for instance. They both have fabulous female leaders and are thriving.
The reason I am talking about this today is that recently, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in an interview that the world needs more female leaders. And yes, we completely agree with him. Finally, a statement about women that we can get behind.
More women leaders would have made world more peaceful: Dalai Lama. https://t.co/wyefAY7EtA
— Ketan (@ketan72) July 9, 2020
In an online interaction with the London police, the Dalai Lama said, “Historically, we see that a majority of warriors are men, even butchers tend to be men. Women represent a gentler approach.” Further adding, “Sometimes, I observe that if countries had more women leaders, we’d have been a more peaceful world.”
He then spoke about the time Sanna Marin was appointed as the Prime Minister of Finland and she appointed women to hold prime posts in her cabinet. Dalai Lama said he had written to congratulate her.
As much sense as this statement of his makes, for some reason, it sounds an awful lot like benevolent sexism. Which means, he is praising women by reinforcing gender stereotypes. Think about it, Dalai Lama said that women would make great leaders because we are more gentle than men. Not because women can be equally assertive or aggressive and run a country better or even as well as a man. But because we have a more gentle and compassionate approach and that is a pretty big stereotype. I mean yes we do. But we might also have better political strategies, might be more driven, it could be anything.
The reason that more female world leaders can bring peace is that women are more empathetic, open-minded and are trying to crush gender norms and stereotypes. Not merely because women are more gentle.
Look, the Dalai Lama is a very influential and heavily followed spiritual leader. People listen to what he has to say and his opinions carry a lot of weight. So, maybe he didn’t mean to express conditional support for gender equality. If there is anyone we should give the benefit of doubt to, it would be the Dalai Lama. But should we give him the benefit of doubt?
His previous statements about women have been a little dicey as well. No, scratch that, his previous statements have been downright sexist and frankly, have shaken our faith a little. Let me jog your memory a bit. In a BBC interview in 2015, the Dalai Lama said that is a woman succeeded him, she should be attractive. When he was questioned about this just last year, the Dalai Lama stood by his statement and also added that if she were ugly, no one would want to see her. Of course, an apology was issued later but the damage was done.
The last time I checked, doing humanitarian work and spread the message of peace and non-violence doesn’t require a person to look attractive. If it did, Victoria Secret models would be considered reincarnations of God.
Similarly, being gentle might be a viable quality you want in a world leader. But it’s not the deciding factor. So, while the Dalai Lama makes an excellent point, his reason behind that point just propels gender-stereotypes.