Tag Archives: Ted Talks

Michael Kimmel: Why gender equality is good for everyone – even men

Filmed at TEDWomen 2015, sociologist Michael Kimmel made a strong, and often funny, case for gender equality.  I encourage you to watch these sixteen minutes and then share with others.  I’m transcribing my favorite quotes below:

“That’s how privilege works. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.”

“White men in Europe and the United States are the beneficiaries of the single greatest affirmative action program in the history of the world. It is called ‘the history of the world.'”

“Research by Catalyst and others has shown conclusively that the more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for workers, the happier their labor force is. They have lower job turnover. They have lower levels of attrition. They have an easier time recruiting. They have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, higher rates of productivity. So the question I’m often asked in companies is, ‘Boy, this gender equality thing, that’s really going to be expensive, huh?’ And I say, ‘Oh no, in fact, what you have to start calculating is how much gender inequality is already costing you. It is extremely expensive.'”

“It turns out that the more egalitarian our relationships, the happier both partners are. Data from psychologists and sociologists are quite persuasive here. I think we have the persuasive numbers, the data, to prove to men that gender equality is not a zero-sum game, but a win-win. Here’s what the data show. Now, when men begin the process of engaging with balancing work and family, we often have two phrases that we use to describe what we do. We pitch in and we help out.  And I’m going to propose something a little bit more radical, one word: ‘share.’

“Because here’s what the data show: when men share housework and childcare, their children do better in school. Their children have lower rates of absenteeism, higher rates of achievement. They are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. They are less likely to see a child psychiatrist. They are less likely to be put on medication.  So when men share housework and childcare, their children are happier and healthier, and men want this.

“When men share housework and childcare, their wives are happier. Duh. Not only that, their wives are healthier. Their wives are less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression, less likely to be put on medication, more likely to go to the gym, report higher levels of marital satisfaction. So when men share housework and childcare, their wives are happier and healthier, and men certainly want this as well.

“When men share housework and childcare, the men are healthier. They smoke less, drink less, take recreational drugs less often. They are less likely to go to the ER but more like to go to a doctor for routine screenings. They are less likely to see a therapist, less likely to be diagnosed with depression, less likely to be taking prescription medication. So when men share housework and childcare, the men are happier and healthier. And who wouldn’t want that?

“And finally, when men share housework and childcare, they have more sex.”

So, what we found is something really important, that gender equality is in the interest of countries, of companies, and of men, and their children and their partners, that gender equality is not a zero-sum game. It’s not a win-lose. It is a win-win for everyone. And what we also know is we cannot fully empower women and girls unless we engage boys and men. We know this. And my position is that men need the very things that women have identified that they need to live the lives they say they want to live in order to live the lives that we say we want to live.”

In 1915, on the eve of one of the great suffrage demonstrations down Fifth Avenue in New York City, a writer in New York wrote an article in a magazine, and the title of the article was,Feminism for Men.’  And this was the first line of that article:Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.'”

Thanks for watching this video!  We have more great resources throughout our blog and Facebook page for learning about gender equality.  Unlike this TedTalk, most of the resources we share come from a Christian perspective.  But Kimmel’s message applies to the Church as well.  Gender equality in Christian families and ministry is good for men too.  The Gospel is not tarnished by treating women as equals and giving women equal opportunities in ministry.  In fact, the Church’s patriarchal stance is a stain on the Gospel.

The Transformative Power of Good Leadership

There is a Ted Talk that I have watched several times over the past few years, and again this weekend.  While Benjamin Zander shares the transformative power of classical music, I am thinking of the transformative power of good leadership in Christian ministry.  Zander, a conductor, teacher and speaker on The Art of Possibility, is an inspirational example of true leadership – one who draws out the potential of others.  He shares this on his website:

“The best review I ever got was not from a music critic, but from my father. He was 94 years old at the time and completely blind. He attended a Master Class I gave in London and sat there in his wheelchair for about three hours. When it was over, I went to speak with him. He lifted up his finger in his characteristic way and said, “I see that you are actually a member of the healing profession.” It seemed to me the highest accolade.”

These 20 minutes may change your life:


d371f4e1531201afc673ceb8744e8040What moves me to tears when watching this is Zander’s belief in the beautiful potential in each person.  I cannot agree more.  We all are made in God’s image and have the capacity to rule over Creation, in His good design.  We were made to have dominion, to be powerful.  Jesus said that His followers would do greater things than He Himself (John 14:12).  There is so much possibility in each of God’s image bearers.

This vision of empowering others in ministry is not always present in our churches.  Our  leaders can be blind to the potential of others sometimes.  They see their own calling and gifts and understand leadership in terms of authority and corporate paradigms.  In our Western world, this may be the only model of leadership that we have ever been exposed to, limiting our ability to imagine a better way.  But the New Testament shows us an early church model of mutuality and inclusion. Paul, James, and the other NT authors teach us to consider others greater than ourselves, to lay down our lives in servant leadership, to each bring a contribution to corporate worship as the priesthood of all believers.

img_8124May more leaders emerge who view their communities not as followers but as fellow image bearers with their own callings, gifts, and the powerful indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  May we not doubt the potential each believer has to spread God’s light and love in ministry.

The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors believes that you have a unique calling from God.  He has prepared good works for you to do.  Your voice is powerful and every voice matters.

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David Logan on Tribal Leadership and how this talk relates to church cultures

I listened to this Ted Talk by David Logan on “Tribal Leadership” a couple years ago and have thought about it frequently since.  Logan’s insights into our natural tendency to form tribes and the cultural stages that these tribes typify have had me looking at the faith communities in my area with new eyes.  I think this is a helpful talk to all in ministry, whether as a lay person or paid clergy.

You should listen to the full talk to hear Logan’s helpful illustrations and stories, but for quick reference, here are my notes:

All of you are members of tribes.  People form tribes.  They always have.  They always will.  It’s just what we do. But not all tribes are the same, and the difference is the culture.

Stage One – “Life Sucks”

Stage One produces people who do horrible things.  The culture of gangs and prisons.  One is a group where people systematically sever relationships from functional tribes, and then pool together with people who think like they do. We don’t often deal with Stage One, but we need to. It’s not enough to simply write people off.

As people see the world, so they behave.

Stage Two – “My Life Sucks”

The Stage Two culture makes people dumb.  You find these tribes in the best organizations in the world. You find them in all places in society.  If that’s how you talked, imagine what kind of work would get done. What kind of innovation would get done? The amount of world-changing behavior that would happen? In fact it would be basically nil.

Stage Three – “I’m Great…and You’re Not”

Stage Three is where most of us move and park and stay.  Imagine having a whole room of people saying, in effect, “I’m great and you’re not.” Or, “I’m going to find some way to compete with you and come out on top as a result of that.” The greatest challenge we face in innovation is moving people from Stage Three to Stage Four.

Stage Four – “We’re Great”

When individuals come together and find something that unites them that’s greater than their individual competence, then something very important happens.  The group gels.  And it changes from a group of highly motivated but fairly individually-centric people into something larger, into a tribe that becomes aware of its own existence.  Stage Four tribes can do remarkable things. 

Stage Five – “Life is Great”

Stage Five is where you really change the world.  It is the stage of Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi.  This is a scene from the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa for which Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Prize. Terrible atrocities had happened in the society, and people came together focused only on those two values: truth and reconciliation.  In this atmosphere, where the only guidance was people’s values and their noble cause, what this group accomplished was historic.  Largely because people like Desmond Tutu set up a Stage Five process to involve the thousands and perhaps millions of tribes in the country, to bring everyone together. 

There are counter-intuitive findings that come out of all this.

The first finding is that leaders need to be able to talk all the levels so that you can touch every person in society.  People can only understand the language of stages one step away.  You don’t leave them where you find them, though.  You nudge them forward to the next level by getting them in a new tribe and then, over time, getting them connected.  

2% of tribes are at Stage One, 25% are at Stage Two, 48% are at Stage Three, 22% are at Stage Four, and only 2% get to Stage Five. 

I’d like to encourage you to do something beyond what people normally do and call networking. Which is not just to meet new people and extend your reach, extend your influence, but instead, find someone you don’t know, and find someone else you don’t know, and introduce them. That’s called a triadic relationship.

People who build world-changing tribes do that. They extend the reach of their tribes by connecting them, not just to myself, so that my following is greater, but I connect people who don’t know each other to something greater than themselves. 

We all form tribes, all of us. If you do what we’ve talked about, you listen for how people actually communicate in the tribes that you’re in.  And you don’t leave them where they are.  You nudge them forward.  You remember to talk all five culture stages.  And the question that I’d like to leave you with is this:

Will your tribes change the world?

Some questions to consider as you think about your church tribe:

  • Has my tribe parked in Stage Three?  Does “I’m Great…and You’re Not” sound like the kind of talk happening in my church?
  • Does my church tribe make connections with other church or organizational tribes on the basis of shared values and goals to accomplish great things?
  • Do I speak the language of all tribal stages, nudging people in my tribe forward gently and helping them get connected in ways that advance their development?
  • Does my tribe write people off who are not at the same stage?
  • What are the values held by my tribe?

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Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion

Please enjoy this funny and inspiring Ted Talk by author and activist Isabel Allende.  I’ve seen it half a dozen times over the past year and it moves me every time.