Iron Butterflies: how women can rule the world without compromising their best qualities

When women decide to climb the corporate ladder or enter politics, before entering the fray they are usually forced to gird their loins and emotionally armor themselves like men. However courageous, adopting a command-and-control style of leadership often comes at great personal cost. In her new book, Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World, developmental psychologist Birute Regine makes clear the extent to which women contort themselves to make it in a man’s world. If they’re not acting like Amazons, they’re becoming what she calls “shape-changers.”

But that’s only the beginning of the story. Ms Regine documents how, at a certain point in their development and often out of necessity, successful women bring traits and values traditionally associated with women to their callings and into the marketplace. In fact, writes Ms. Regine, a female-led revolution in leadership style, however off the radar, is underway. Continue reading