Riane Eisler co-authored this article.

“In this time of economic and social upheaval, the appeal of “strong-man” rule and returning to “good old times” when all women and most men still knew their place in a world of top-down ranking is strong, especially for people who have been taught that men should dominate women and “inferior” men.

And things will get worse, not better, until we all recognize the centrality of gender roles and relations to the kind of society we live in.

Ranking one gender over another, whether in families or public institutions, wastes valuable human resources and limits opportunities for everyone. Limiting power and leadership to one kind of person guarantees decisions on household spending and national budgets are less effective. Economies expand when irreducible human needs for care, health, and education are met. Policies that support families, like paid family leave, work flexibility, and accessible, affordable child care, are the key to national security.

A first step is changing our narratives around “women’s issues,” “women’s work,” and “feminine.” Messaging influences our thinking tremendously, and our current gender-normed vocabulary distorts reality and separates us from precisely the new kind of thinking we need to devise and implement more effective methods of confronting injustice, inequality, and violence.”

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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