Dr. Birute Regine says that using feminine leadership skills is a key to empowering women. In a male-dominated culture, being independent, autonomous and decisive is over-valued at the expense of nurturing, caring and maintaining strong, interdependent relationships with others. However, both are essential to powerful leadership and crucial for long-term success in business and in life.
She interviewed sixty women in eight countries to develop her ideas about the strength of the so-called “soft feminine skills” of intuition, empathy, vulnerability and relational intelligence, which she featured in her award-winning book, Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World. While promoting her book, she felt invigorated by the enthusiasm of women audiences about the empowering ideas in her book, and wanted to find a way to sustain that enthusiasm. That led her to develop Iron Butterfly Circles and write the e-book, “Are You An Iron Butterfly?”
Emerging Focus on Women and Girls Empowerment
Out of Birute’s work to develop leaders for her Iron Butterfly Circles came an emerging pilot project with mothers and daughters, which she calls, “the mother-daughter revolution.” Pre-teen girls are at that point where they aren’t sure whether to risk letting others know who they truly are or to hide their truth in order to be liked. The circles encourage them to accept their real and authentic selves. For the mothers, who are mostly in their 40’s, Birute says the Circles allow them to share their wisdom with others. The connectedness in a safe and nurturing environment enables mothers and daughters to develop as Iron Butterflies.
Birute stresses that it is Iron Butterflies, not singular, butterfly. The group aspect and developing the strengths in connection with others is what is most important. This lies at the heart of the complexity science that forms the foundation of her conclusions. Through the adaptations of the group, a greater creativity and intelligence forms to create results far greater than any individual member could do on her own.
Leading Women Use Their Innate Feminine and Masculine Skills.
“Soft is the New Hard: The Hidden Power of Feminine Skills” is the title of Birute’s chapter in Dr. Nancy’s new book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life. She draws on her previous Iron Butterflies work and tells a story of how feminine-style collaboration pushed through a tough negotiation issue, and was discouraged to find she was not recognized as the powerful force responsible for the successful outcome.
That is typical of feminine leadership style in a male-dominated culture. Birute says it’s not a human fault; it’s what our culture has created. Feminine skills are really human skills. Our culture has defined that difference and we need to undefine it. In fact, she maintains that a leader’s greatest strength is the way she deals with vulnerability. Though vulnerability is considered a feminine trait, It takes a great deal of strength to admit one’s vulnerability and use the lessons learned to create successful outcomes. That brings her back to knowing and accepting your own truth. Being your authentic self where ever you go and whatever you do is mature self-confidence.
Listen, Read and Learn More Empowering Lessons
Listen to this interview for much more information about how disassociation from their feminine selves hurts women leaders. And check out Birute’s free e-book to find out if you are an Iron Butterfly. Check out and engage with Birute’s Iron Butterflies on facebook and with her Iron Butterflies & Iron Caterpillars, mother-daughter communities also on facebook.