The Official Word
Tammy Baldwin, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Janet Cowell, Amy Dean, April Fairfield, Barbara Lee, Laura Miller, and Lynn Woolsey on leadership.
Teaching Women To Win
Europe Crawls Ahead
The Scandinavians are doing great, but as for the rest ...
Having a woman leader isn't always enough.
No Questions Asked.
Ain't nothing like the real feminism.
Before the Dawn
Will political reform finally come to Burma?
Jury awards $4.4 million to a pair of Earth First! activists.
Hundreds of 9/11 detainees remain behind bars, shrouded in secrecy.
A Man of Peace
In Person: Dave Dellinger
Never Again—and Again and Again
BOOKS: Samantha Power's A Problem from Hell.
FILM: John Woo's Windtalkers.
MUSIC: DJ Shadow's The Private Press.
June 21, 2002
President, South Bay AFL-CIO, San Jose, California
Several years ago I saw something I’ve never forgotten. One day my counterpart in a set of difficult contract negotiations was accompanied by his supervisor. The boss wasn’t there to step in and cut the final deal, but only to offer moral support to his staff. It was a small gesture, but it was a reminder that leadership isn’t always about stepping out in front of others, but knowing how to let others step in front of you.
That’s something those in leadership positions sometimes forget, but it’s something particularly important for women to remember. Feminism’s mission has always been about more than helping women win power; it also teaches us to transform the way it’s exercised. Today, when women gain authority, too often we set aside our skills in collaboration and team building and instead adopt the most conventional approach to leadership. As a result we miss the opportunity to exercise leadership in the most meaningful way possible: by helping unleash the talents of others.
Most women leaders believe in serving as a role model for young girls. That’s great, but that’s only where our responsibilities begin. It’s also our job to help other women into leadership positions. The way to do that isn’t by encouraging younger women to change who they are to fit the status quo, but to challenge the status quo so others better appreciate the crucial leadership women can offer.