High powered reporter Cate Montana had done it all, from 16 years in network TV to magazine journalism, when she realized that she had been liberated to compete like a man in a man’s world. Her wake-up call happened in an interview with a shaman from a South American tribe.
The shaman explained how men and women work consciously together in his tribe using their unique strengths. Men hunt, fish, cut down trees and provide, but nurturing women do the most important job (and no, it isn’t bearing children). The women tell them when to stop. Without that attribute, the men would level the forests and kill all the game. To balance the aggressive masculine competition, the tribe relies on the complement of feminine traits to sustain it into the future.
“Where are your women and why are they not telling your men to stop?” the shaman asked her. That was when Cate realized that everything we do today–and she had done in her career–is based on the masculine model. Not only did she realize how unsustainable that was, but she also realized that she didn’t know what it was like to behave like a woman.
Cate began a new journey to discover the feminine nature within her and how that empowered her to create better, more fulfilling work. The result is her memoir, Unearthing Venus: My Search for the Woman Within. Its compelling message is larger than the story of Cate’s self-realization; it provides guidance for every hard-hitting woman trying to have a successful career and compete in the corporate world.
Build Confidence By Valuing Female Strengths
Dr. Nancy and Cate discuss how the idea of the perfect woman and the media drive to create her is a masculine construct. Both men and women have been and are being sold a bill of goods that distracts us from our natural inclinations. We all have both masculine and feminine traits, but our culture has turned the masculine aggressiveness toward a quest for power, rather than protection.
Cate likes the Eastern model of thought better. It emphasizes wholeness and how the masculine (yang) tends to be protecting, single path oriented, intellectual, linear and goal-oriented, while the feminine (yin) tends to be nurturing, multi-dimensional, intuitive, other-oriented and accepting. However in today’s world, East and West have adopted the more aggressive model to retain their global influence or become a developed country, get richer and more powerful. The shaman told Cate that this use of driving masculine nature is taking the whole world over a cliff.
The Role of Women in Corporate Culture
“Women have 37.6% more managerial positions than men, but we are not enabled to create…what our own heart speaks,” says Cate. Even if a woman is a Vice President, if she talks about concern for the families who will be misplaced by a corporate takeover, she will be discounted as a bleeding-heart woman. The community-oriented, nurturing aspect of feminine qualities is not valued in most C-suites and liberated women leaders have had to adapt to be effective.
However, things are beginning to change. With the ideas of the “triple bottom line” some companies are beginning to adjust their priorities: people first, planet second and profit third. Dr. Nancy adds that it’s a matter of getting connected and supporting one another. With 85% of goods and services being purchased by women in the United States, woman can have a huge impact by working together. Cate seconds that opinion and says that if we buy with our hearts, we can change the world overnight.
More Insights from Cate Montana
To check out Cate’s book, watch an interview, get the free first chapter and more, click here: UnearthingVenus.com. Find out more about Cate, her work, blog, books and services on her website: www.catemontana.com. And be sure to listen to more of this lively interview full of ideas about how we need to accept masculine and feminine qualities as human nature and what it critical to survive and thrive for generations to come.