Leadership to protect our empathy

Researching empathy showed how vulnerable it is. There are so many opportunities and excuses for blocking empathy, for turning away from ‘the other’ that I gave it a name. Dyspathy is anything that stops empathy, and it comes in many forms:  too much concern with self; the pull of group thinking; moral certainties about the other that remain unquestioned; traumatic experiences and memories.

Delicate work is needed to undo dyspathy and allow empathy to flow again. We found that leadership makes a vital difference. Leaders who stand up for empathy provide a model for others to live by and create conditions in which dyspathy cannot thrive.

Today I was heartened by British Muslims leaders taking a stand against sexual exploitation of young women:

Mr Karmani said: “There’s a profound disrespect culture when it comes to treating women. One of the reasons we feel this is the case is poor role models.

“Access to pornography, which also objectifies women, is creating a culture where men are now ambiguous when it comes to the issue of violence against women.”

Read about the leadership being shown today on the BBC News website



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