Friday, June 1, 2018

Are female "benevolent dictators" different?

Listening to a recent podcast about how much getting women and minorities into management positions can help companies see more inclusion and less issues with prejudicial practices, I thought of something that happened back in 1991 and a certain Sherlockian organization that's been under the same management for about twenty-five years now.

The past twenty-five years have been very good for the Baker Street Irregulars of New York as a publishing house to the Sherlockian world, as archivist of their own history, and as keeping that consistent annual dinner on the calendar. A lot of male skill-set accomplishments have been accomplished, and those who prefer a certain status quo have been satisfied for the duration.

But sometimes one has to look at the future and go "What if . . . ?"

As in "What if the next leader of the B.S.I. was a woman? How might the ensuing twenty-five years be different from the previous twenty-five? What might a Sherlockian of a different gender see in our world that those of us in the predominate gender of the past do not?"

I can think of at least one scion society whose upper management changed genders some time ago, and there weren't big, blatant changes, yet changes were there. A little broader vision was obvious, a little more proactive inclusion, a little less emphasis on certain past touchstones and a little more emphasis on new world Sherlockiana. There was no disrespect to the former leaders in it all, but it was plain that new ideas, a new perspective was being added to the group's traditional base.

The passing of the BSI "benevolent dictator" torch is based upon what the group's previous head saw as what it needed to continue into the future, and the situation now is decidedly different from what it was in the 1990s, so new factors will surely play into that change when the time comes. Will that include expansion from paper publishing to the array of other media so easily now available to explore even literary topics? Will it involve changes to the strangely awarded membership system? Probably not right away, even for the most ambitious newly chosen head of the BSI, as there is always that period of respectful conservatism for the previous lead.

Should the stars align, however, and the cap of the next Irregular chief come off to reveal flowing locks (yes, not all ladies have long hair, nor a movie trope that works in a non-binary system), what comes next would definitely be a perspective traditional American Sherlockian culture has never seen at the top. Where it goes from there? I don't think any of us could predict. The future can be a very surprising thing, especially when a different set of eyes get to set the course.

Here's hoping we will all get to be around when such curious days come.

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