Donnerstag, Dezember 10, 2009

Stupid men - Sustainable women?

Today I stumbled over an article in the German edition of the Financial Times portraying the Islandic financial services provider Audur Capital who are granting credits for "investments with female intelligence" meaning projects that aim on ethical, ecological and sustainable benefits rather than a quick return of investments without considering impact (Find here an article in The Guardian):

"Our company is founded by women with a vision to incorporate feminine values into the world of finance. We are on a mission to unlock and create new value with a more balanced set of values." it says on the company's website.

In conversation with Financial Times Germany, Audur Capital founder and manager Halla Tomasdottir criticises the credulousness, greenness and readiness to take incalculable risks. "When I asked for the foundation of business ideas the answer was: growth, growth, growth. The foundation of growth was unnecessary Mrs. Tomasdottir says. Investors were only looking for a bigger fool to buy their stocks for more money they spent on them. Mrs. Tomasdottir gave the phenomenon that lead to the financial collapse a name: big penis complex.

This equalisation of "sustainability" and "the female principle" reminds me of the "father" of the microcredit, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus. In his autobiography he explains why the Grameen Bank would exclusively give credits to women: because women are more likely to do what is good for their family. The focus of their actions aims at the family, securing the future of their children while men are more likely to focus on themselves: give a man 10 Dollar and he'll consume, buying alcohol, clothing or something else for himself. The money will be gone. Give a woman 10 Dollars and she will invest it: in improving the living conditions of the family, the nutrition and education of her children. In thinking beyond the limits of her own existence and doing what's best for her family (even at the cost of dispensing advantages for herself) she creates sustainable values, laying the foundation for the condition for the possibility of sustainable growth and improvement - for her own children and the whole community.

This reminded me of acclaimed novelist, former UN under secretary general and current Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor and his "two-word-mantra" that he repeats in his speeches as a primary goal: educate girls!

"If I had to pick the one thing we must do above all else, I now offer a two-word mantra: “educate girls”. It really is that simple. There is no action proven to do more for the human race than the education of the female child. Scholarly studies and research projects have established what common sense might already have told us: that if you educate a boy, you educate a person, but if you educate a girl, you educate a family and benefit an entire community.
The evidence is striking. Increased schooling of mothers has a measureable impact on the health of their children, on the future schooling of the child, and on the child’s adult productivity. The children of educated mothers consistently out-perform children with educated fathers and illiterate mothers. Given that they spend most of their time with their mothers, this is hardly surprising.
If someone told you that, with just 12 years of investment of about $1 billion a year, you could, across the developing world, increase economic growth, decrease infant mortality, increase agricultural yields, improve maternal health, improve children’s health and nutrition, increase the numbers of children — girls and boys — in school, slow down population growth, increase the number of men and women who can read and write, decrease the spread of AIDS, add new people to the work force and be able to improve their wages without pushing others out of the work force — what would you say? Such a deal! What is it? How can I sign up?" (Source:

All these examples add up to the embarrassing diagnosis that men tend to think of themselves thus harming and ruining the community (which includes themselves) since they tend to act selfish rather than seeing the greater picture.

After world and civil wars, corruption, the unleashed masculine powerplay of Wall Street in the 80ies, the culture of clandestine and devious fraud in economics and politics, the callous acts of the powerful and benefiting few at cost of the poor, powerless and clueless many, ongoing exploitation of natural resources and other "projects" carrying male signature, is it time for global female ratio? (And are Angela Merkel, Hilary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice the answer?)