How Change Happens.
Just read through a new book by a colleague in the Salvation Army, Major Leanne Ruthven called Hidden Treasure. It's a collection of married women officers and their own struggles to fulfill their God given calling in leadership within the structures and systems and cultural realities present within our organization. The punchy foreword by Janet Munn is a helpful reminder of how things really must change in a systemic way for true equality to be championed and experienced by 50% of Salvation Army who are women. Currently, less then 10% of senior leadership positions are held by women. We can hear the stories and the stats over and over and over again - actually, I wrote a piece many years ago that echoes this frustration in a 'rant' called 'the married women's ghetto rant' which basically lets the frustration out... that said, how many times do we need to hear the same story to actually change things and even more potent of a question - how does change happen? So, Germany just announced that by next year they will make it a requirement to have all corporations have 30% of senior boards positions filled by women. Read it here. This is an incredible thing... granted there is a long trip from stating that intention and actually doing it - but that is really what I'm brining up. Change doesn't just happen - it doesn't happen because we have warm feelings or even an internal change of mind. It doesn't just happen because we hear the pain and frustration of people in the situation... that's all good for a season but true change happens when we actually do something.
There is a lot of controversy about mandating targets for gender/racial representation - affirmative action... some argue that it makes the situation a 'token change' so that it doesn't actually reflect the right solution. Others argue that true change needs to be instigated by the people needing to make the changes... others suggest that if women/different raced people were just simply outstanding at their jobs they'd be selected for senior leadership. Blah, blah, blah - we can argue these points until we are tired of forming words.
The trouble again is with how change happens. See, if the club is already formed it's pretty tricky to break in... and if the system is unbalanced in the favour of a selected gender/race/background then it's like trying to march uphill and break through a glass ceiling at the same time. It's near impossible. If merit was the only factor in senior leadership positions around the world - they'd be filled with women already. Trust me.
So, how do we actually CHANGE systems, situations, so that leadership can actually reflect personelle? So that women and people from different backgrounds besides the dominate cultural one get a fair shot at a chance to actually lead? Well, I think Germany might be on to something. Until, we institute some correction to an imbalanced system it will never change. Until we actually hold the current leaders to some accountability to MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN it will not happen. It's that simple. This isn't rocket science - it's an experience you are in right now. In any area of your life where the scales are fixed against you - even the internal ones... for change to actually happen will take much more than some nice thoughts and some grief about the current state of things. For change to actually happen you'll have to do something. Action will be required.
I figure any action toward change is like a light... it's like a sign from heaven that we are not cursed to live in a world without God. Let's give it a try. Let's make change happen.