The woman who matters

The woman who matters

The woman who matters

You can call her good-looking, noble, decisive, visionary. She might appear slightly arrogant, tough, commanding.

I call her the woman who matters – she has stature. Her stature comes from her character. Anyone can have stature. Why do some people find it easier than others?

Picture by kind permission of

We all know the answer – apparent confidence. But wait, is that the same as confidence? No, it is not, but it is the best second-best we have. Men have been using it since whenever. Men are seldom naturally confident. They see what their mothers, and subsequently their wives, go through to hold the family and thus society together. Men aspire to do the same and make their contribution in the way they know best. Their confidence is mostly acted.

For much of the time it works. We all act, all out lives. “All the world’s a stage…” as the bard said. Nothing wrong with that. Civilisation itself is an act with a desirable outcome. Humans must play their part in the performance. Insecure men like Trump play the part badly. Their exaggerated macho performance is a dead giveaway. Confident people and people who can act confidence reasonably well, don’t need to do all that. Rubbish isn’t confidence.

Male confidence both acted and real is performed and endorsed by collegiality. Look at how institutions founded by men use ritualized togetherness as a key part of their survival. Women have little need of such self-congratulatory gatherings. The best example of this was when the women’s Institute conference in London’s Albert Hall barracked Blair for a self-aggrandising political speech when he was supposed to be talking about them. No male conference would have had the guts to do that. Silly man. All he had to do was to drop his written speech on the floor, explain to the audience that he hadn’t slept for fifteen nights since his latest child was born and they would have been eating out of his hand.

Women’s confidence is generally more solid than men’s. Based on the continuation of the race it is less short-term and more balanced about money. Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath showed a vivid picture of how women take over when the proverbial hits the fan. None of which is to say that one sex is somehow better than the other. They are, as intended (I imagine), complementary. Men seem generally to have more creative vision than women.

Just as there is a man who matters, there is also a woman who matters. The difference is that he is usually easy to spot; she is more difficult. That is because she has not developed her power-acting skills so well. She didn’t think she needed to. In crises she just got on with it. Her common-sense, reliable decisions, always followed by reasonable action sorted out the problem. It didn’t exhibit her power so it failed to display her confidence. I go back to where I started, apparent confidence. To think you don’t need to display it may itself be an arrogance unbecoming either sex.

Because women don’t display confidence the way men do they do not reach the right places to exercise their power. Perhaps if women acted their confidence a little more men would understand the very real need they have for the contribution of ‘the woman who matters’.

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult. – Charlotte Whitton