Girl power isn’t better power – it’s equality that counts
Words Molly Flatt
Would the world be a better place if it was run by women?
Personally, my instincts scream yes. My mother butted against the glass ceiling of the British auto industry in the 70s and 80s, while my sister runs her own forestry company; both have blazed a brilliant trail in an overwhelmingly male sphere. I know a host of women who bring a refreshing empathy and integrity to their leadership roles; one such is Lu Li, the creator of the Blooming Founders, who in this issue offers some great advice to female entrepreneurs wanting to succeed in a still shockingly sexist startup scene.
But when I look at some of the women in power, or close to power, around the world, the simplistic solution starts to fade. Women can be cruel and egotistical just as men can be emotionally intelligent and inclusive, for sure. If you really want to have your assumptions challenged, read Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power, in which women gain the ability to electrocute with a single touch… and then set about screwing up the world just as badly as the boys.
The truth is, it’s equality – not gender – that’s going to create real change. And not just of the warm and fuzzy kind. In her excellent book Attack of the 50 Ft. Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World – the founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer quotes one report that predicts that global GDP could be boosted 8.3 trillion by 2025 simply by making faster progress towards narrowing the gender gap. Surely 8.3 trillion would appeal to even the most rabid anti-feminist?
So yes, the free June issue of PHOENIX digital features some incredible women, from our cover star Amber Mark to the British-Indian chef Anjum Anand to the young choreographer Holly Blakey, who is redefining the relationship between music, dance and art. But it also features some excellent men; see the multi-talented music impresario Busy P or the photographer Charles Moriarty, whose unseen photographs of Amy Winehouse will break your heart. The common factor? An ability to bring together equal but different influences in the name of beauty and progress.
So whoever you vote for in this month’s election – even if it feels like choosing between a rock and a hard place – please, do vote. If only to honour the battle fought by men and women such as Emmeline Pankhurst (Manchester, we love you) to give us an equal – not a better, but an equal – voice.