“I am iron butterfly…
I am she/we
and silk wings,
into a gentle blue sky.”
—Janice Mirikitani, from Love Works
“I think this is such a worthy project because I would like a lot of people to read and think about the fact that there are modes of leadership that are not part of the machismo model and are more successful.”
—Barbara Kingsolver, Pulitzer Prize winner,
novelist, essayist, environmentalist
“This intellectual and dynamic treatise on women in the modern workplace demonstrates convincingly how empathy, emotional strength and an embrace of vulnerability are changing traditional, male-dominated management models. Declaring the Era of Women, Regine celebrates big picture thinkers as well as mindful feelers, a powerful message reinforced by the impressive professional biographies of each subject.”
—Publishers Weekly (web-exclusive)
"Iron Butterflies is especially essential reading for young women who often fail to appreciate just how hard-won are the opportunities they enjoy today. Nor do they realize, as Ms. Regine points out, that sexual discrimination still exists—as they'll find out when their heads start thudding against the glass ceiling. It's also an important book for men, who need to learn that they've got to get with the program or get out of the way. In fact, if they too adapt some of women's ways in the working world, they may not only find they can breathe a sigh of relief, but, in the long run, achieve more success....
"The word 'inspiring' is tossed around way too frequently. But in its depiction of the hardships that many of these women endured, sometimes from their earliest ages, and their emotional resilience and flexibility, this book inspires."
—Russ Wellen, The Huffington Post
"This book is perfectly timed to give momentum to the global tipping point which recognizes that when women thrive, everyone thrives. Reading and sharing the Iron Butterflies
will help earn your wings."
—Lisa Witter, co-author with Lisa Chen of The She Spot: Why Women
are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them
A profound transition is taking place in our society, a revolution that is largely hidden, and led predominantly by women. A society once based on domination and power over others is beginning to crumble as an era of cooperation and community emerges, founded on the principle that power should only be exercised with and for others.
This is the inspiring, central message of Iron Butterflies
, a compelling narrative that weaves together the stories of sixty successful women from all walks of life and throughout the world. Author Birute Regine spent several years in eight countries interviewing these dynamic female role models: businesswomen, CEOs, a Congresswoman, a governor, an ex-Prime Minister, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a winemaker, artists, doctors, nurses, and many others.
Regine calls these women “Iron Butterflies” because they meld a will of iron with the gentle, nurturing touch of a butterfly. With disarming candor, these women talk about their struggles, their fallibilities, and their strengths in the journey to the top of their professions. Forging their leadership from an amalgam of masculine and feminine skills, all of these Iron Butterflies have transformed themselves and in doing so they are contributing to a larger social transformation.
A key to this personal and social transformation rests in their ability to address vulnerability in themselves and those around them, and transform it into a crucible of healing, growth, and innovation. Knowing how to deal with vulnerability, in ourselves and with others, evokes feminine skills and values and is a key to the societal change so many are seeking.
Critiquing the command-and-control style of leadership, derived from the gladiator concept of male invulnerability, Regine convincingly demonstrates how traditional feminine skills and values—such as inclusion, empathy, a holistic perspective, relational skills, and emotional strength—can be applied to empower more people than ever before. Like the sixty Iron Butterflies profiled, leaders in the 21st century will paradoxically embrace vulnerability and durability, creating better working and living relationships for us all.
Binding: Paperback336 pages
View interviews with author Birute Regine on Iron Butterflies:
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Birute Regine (Cambridge, MA), a developmental psychologist, is a partner in Harvest Associates, a writing and consulting company, which she founded with her husband, Roger Lewin. She conducts workshops across the country, speaks at business and women’s conferences and colleges, offers life and executive coaching, and writes books and articles. She is the coauthor with Roger Lewin of the critically acclaimed The Soul at Work: Embracing Complexity Science for Business Success (reissued in paperback with the title Weaving Complexity and Business: Engaging the Soul at Work).