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The Dalai Lama: Women Are More Compassionate Leaders

Whether you think his comments were sexist or not, his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso says the next Dalai Lama could be female. Here's why he thinks the fairer sex was born to lead.

The Dalai Lama wants women to lead the world so much, he thinks his successor could even be female. 

"If the circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama is more useful, then automatically a female Dalai Lama will come," he said in a recent press conference held in Australia.  

The suggestion, which His Holiness has made previously, followed his reference to the gender debate that is taking Australia by storm. Prime minister Julia Gillard recently accused the Liberal Party of being "grossly sexist and offensive" after she attended a fundraising dinner in which her body parts were listed as dinner items on the menu. 

In the Dalai Lama's mind, a world that is suffering a "moral crisis" of inequality needs those who can truly empathize with a person in need and offer meaningful ways to help. 

"In that respect, biologically, females have more potential," he said. "Females have more sensitivity about others' well-being. In my own case, my father, very short temper. On a few occasions I also got some beatings. But my mother was so wonderfully compassionate."

Whether you agree with the statement or not, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso is certainly onto something. As we've written before, many character traits traditionally associated with women tend to be very effective at work.

Among them are humility--seeking to serve others and sharing credit--vulnerability--owning up to one's limitations and asking for help--and (you guessed it), empathy--being sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. 

Last updated: Jun 14, 2013


Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.

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