Since leaving on sabbatical from the Commission on 1 December last year, I have been thinking about where I want to go professionally, and the idea that Europe needs fresh air in order to avoid a catastrophic, or perhaps merely pathetic, slide into global irrelevance is one of the ideas I have been exploring in this context.
But an arguably more fundamental issue in the context of the future of humanity concerns the position of women, and it is related to the need to inject some “fresh air” into existing political, administrative and corporate structures.
Around the time that humans invented the wheel and tamed the horse, men started to dominate the public arena. These technologies suited men (as opposed to women) well, and arguably led to the paternalistic religions, ideologies, civilisations and cultural habits that we have today. With the industrial revolution came change, and in some countries an increasing unwillingness on the part of women to accept the status quo. Women started to insist on contributing to, and benefiting from society in every bit as public a way as men.
The jury is out as to whether this progress is continuing or has gone into reverse, but what I want to do here is to make the specific case that the still largely male-dominated political, administrative and corporate structures that we have are not drawing sufficiently on the intelligence of women, and that this is undermining humanity’s ability to deal with its problems and steer its way towards an ecstatic future. This is one reason why I favour affirmative action in this matter.