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  • Mia Cosco

Why It’s Important To Differentiate “Feminine-Lead” From “Female-Lead” Companies

As not just a woman making a name in the business world, but a Millennial businesswoman, I often get a lot of praise from other women, usually older, for ‘sticking it out’ or ‘toughing it through’ a career in business. This is appreciated, first and foremost.

I have heard the story of Mika Brzezinski getting paid (wayyyy) less, even when she was doing more work, because she was a female correspondent next to her male correspondent.

I have heard the harrowing stories on Girlboss Radio (one of my favourite podcasts) of female founders literally being ignored in introductory meetings with outside contractors, clients, etc. because the other people in the room thought that she was the secretary. *facepalm*

I have heard countless stories, not to mention almost had my face glued to the screen of new updates on the Harvey Weinstein trial, on women consistently being undermined professionally.

Myself?

I have had it lucky in comparison. I haven’t encountered any discrimination my way in terms of my gender identity and I personally haven’t been triggered in the workplace on my role in a boardroom full of men.

I cannot be the only woman feeling like an observer when I hear about women actually experiencing misogyny firsthand in what is thought of as a comfortable and safe environment. It leads me to ask a few questions…

Are the statistics on women’s discrimination in the workplace amplified or sensationalized?

Have I not had enough experience in business to warrant a well-rounded perspective?

Was I just born at the right time (90s)?

Am I ignoring potential red flags?

Am I in a bubble?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. and sought a business career from this very place — where I still live. A beautiful, low-density growing city of nature, sea, and urbanization not without it’s fair share of interesting history and problems, I haven’t been gobsmacked by any of the companies I’ve worked with, whether they be nonprofits, international organization headquarters, venture capital firms, advisory firms, publishing houses, etc.

On the whole, I’ve found that our peacekeeping Canadian culture tolerates little workplace discrimination or unethical behaviour. I’ve worked with inspiring business leaders, amazing couples, mentors and tor-mentors alike (you know the kind) and no challenge or friction in communication, should there have been any, seemed remotely targeted towards my identity as a woman or was sexualized/harassing in any way.

Recently, in a disclosed meeting of other amazing, hilarious, and wickedly smart female entrepreneurs, I noticed that our branding, however still in its infancy, was going to be seen by an international audience… and there was something I wanted to continuously change in our dialogue, however I found my chance in a recent email, post-Zoom meeting:

“Hey everyone,

I think a female lead management team is great; a feminine lead management team is even greater.

Why do I make this distinction?

Female-lead is important for the purposes of material diversification, however when we make the distinction, we alienate ourselves less from 50% of the population that are conscious masculine beings. We become inclusive of men that contain light feminine qualities and we hone in on the energy body of what we truly want us to be: nurturing, friendly, inviting, radiant, healing, and intuitive.”

The response I got?

Cheers, “BOOM”’s, and alignment from all involved.

Very interesting. This got me on to something and shifted a subtle but inspired feeling within.

To provide context, I know of and have worked with a new crop of heart-centred male VCs very dedicated to funding female-backed and female-lead ventures. The #MeToo movement has inspired venture-capital to become more inclusive. Investors are seen as “smarter” if they look at ‘women-led’ companies. Investing in women-lead start ups is a savvy move, statistically.

With that said.. another topic that the current social climate brings up is tokenism: a baptismal washing of past sins of female discrimination by throwing money to make the problem go away, which is hush money in essence.

Now, playing the devil’s advocate, I’m not shunning money. Reparations can start to repair the backlog. Funding is important for so many incredible brilliant female ideas and the support is great.

With that said, money is like any other exchange of energy, and if it’s dirty and/or rapidly made, I raise an eyebrow.

Female-lead ventures are important. Women finally have the welcome mat to make their mark after so much time, over many generations, taking abuse.

However, I don’t support all female ventures. Example: You think I’m looking to Sarah Palin as the next President because we share anatomy? No.

I also have been a part of female ventures that have seemed remarkably militant against men. As a woman who identifies as she/her and also sexually identifies as straight, it’s not a values alignment for me to be involved with any sort of start up or movement that declares itself as feminist while also, behind closed doors, veering dangerously into man-hating discussions.

Some of my mentors have been men and, particularly on the playfully termed ‘Left Coast’ businesses that I’ve worked with, it’s the norm for those men that I work with to be heart centred, nurturing, and to inhabit some very lovely and feminine qualities.

This is why I made the feminine-lead distinction.

The most peacekeeping, nurturing, intuitive, and balanced female mindsets that I’ve ever worked with are being divinely feminine by nature.

These minds do not want to alienate 50% of the population (men).

We welcome help from other conscious men.

We also are inclusive of gender fluidity in the people we do business with because we’re basing business on values, not gender.

We advance outdated business models and we evolve the status quo.

Fellow female-led ventures, I invite you to take it a step up further: You’re more than just women. You carry with you a set of feminine gifts, qualities, and intuition that are essential to balanced, prosperous organizations — and when men tune into that, that’s where the magic happens.

The feminine values I speak of are not unknown to women:

Emotionality; speaking from a place of passion and purpose.

Intuitive; making business decisions not just based on left brain logic or instinct (lower mind) but a higher mind, a mind that is calm and relaxed from a place of meditation.

Creative; thinking outside of the box and showing new perspectives.

Receptive; listening to both perspectives and having the patience to play the devil’s advocate so that the best business plan can be formulated.

The list goes on. When these feminine values are upheld, light masculine (as opposed to dark or toxically masculine values) is called. Toxic masculinity doesn’t survive in a light feminine environment. Period.

Light masculine qualities are ushered in such as focus, power, strength, goal orientation, protection, and problem-solving.

In groundbreaking books like Slow Money and The Clean Money Revolution, the amazing authors understand this and do not pretend that profits are the end goal.

The call to action made at the end of The Clean Money Revolution brings this all home by Joel Solomon:

“Why aren’t we supporting companies for decades, rather than joining the team forcing them to grow fast sell fast, and make a jackpot so the founders and their backers can just go out and do it again? That’s the game for most investors.

Through repeated tilling and turning for more efficient short term production we erode and deplete the earth… Can we instead invest like earthworms, making long-term contributions to life cycles?…

Patient capital will grow along with the clean money movement.”

Approach business like a garden. Stand for long term capital gains because that ensures mindful success. Transform the pump and dump frenzy as a result of toxic masculinity gone wrong for a feminized business workplace: mindful money.

Feminized wealth.

Conscious business.

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©2020 by Mia Cara Cosco.