Tag Archives: gladwell

Token


I recently listened to a podcast from Malcolm Gladwell called “The Lady Vanishes”. Gladwell produced a series of podcasts together with the the publisher Slate which in my opinion will change the landscape and maybe the businessmodel of podcasting. For those of you who do not know the books of Malcolm Gladwell I highly recommend you to read them (his mother does too).

I listen to about 3-4 hours of podcasts per week so I consider myself a bit of an expert in this field but I have to admit that I was blown away. Like all his books the quality of it is outstanding. He is also fortunate that his voice also sounds great and Panoply (panoply.fm) put a lot of effort into the production. The key to it is of course still the content.

Gladwell tackles the issues women are still facing today by going back to the late 19th century and taking a close look at a female painter and her efforts to break into the male dominated Royal Academy of Arts. He then draws the conclusion that societies today have not changed dramatically by proving how Australia elected a female prime minister (Julia Gillard) only to be even more sexiest as it was already proven anyway how open everyone is (this is called Moral Self-Licensing). She served as a token. Like many female boardmembers do. The idea is that if you have a woman there you can keep your behaviour as you already proved that you support the cause. If everything goes according to plan Hillary Clinton will become the first female US president. Not because she is necessarily the best for the job but because she ticks a lot of boxes. I live in Austria, I basically do not care who serves as president there for the next 4-8 years. Will she be another token or will she be able to change society? Only the future will tell.

If you look to Germany where you have a female prime minister for more than 10 years I am not sure how much better the situation for the women is but you probably never had a more respected female politician in the history. Interestingly enough as soon as she got a softer (female?) touch towards intergration the public opinion about her changed in a split second. Can you only be successfull as a female leader if you resemble male beaviour? I do not think so but it looks that way.

Let’s all show a bit more respect towards each other and appreciate the successes and help out when we fail. Don’t forget to listen to Malcolm Galdwell’s podcast at: www.revisionisthistory.com