In the lead-up to a devastating Hamas attack, female Israeli soldiers repeatedly warned of the impending threat, only to be dismissed by their male superiors.
The consequences were tragic, with the authority gap potentially exacerbating the Middle East crisis.
Months before the assault, a veteran female military intelligence officer raised alarms about Hamas planning a large-scale attack.
Despite her expertise, her concerns were brushed off as “imaginary” by a dismissive colonel.
Similarly, female soldiers tasked with monitoring the Gaza border reported weeks in advance that Hamas fighters were preparing a sophisticated attack involving drones and paragliders.
Their warnings were met with skepticism, with male commanders asserting that the women didn’t understand the situation.
The article delves into the broader issue of the authority gap, highlighting how women’s insights are often downplayed or ignored.
A poignant experiment from 1995 is referenced, showing that information presented by a man is six times more likely to influence group deliberations than the same information presented by a woman.
In the case of Israel, the authority gap may have had deadly consequences. The female intelligence officer, backed by dozens of female IDF “spotters,” detailed Hamas’s preparations for an attack, but their warnings were disregarded.
The subsequent attack resulted in the deaths of numerous spotters who had been abandoned because their insights were deemed less credible.
The article emphasizes the importance of addressing the authority gap, not just as an annoyance for women in their careers but as a matter of life and death in critical situations.
It points out that countries with more women in power are less likely to go to war or experience civil unrest, underlining the potential benefits of gender equality in decision-making processes.
Ultimately, the tragic events in Israel highlight the need for a more inclusive and equitable approach to authority, where women’s perspectives are valued and heeded.
The consequences of dismissing their insights can be severe, affecting not only individual lives but potentially shaping the course of geopolitical conflicts.
Re-reported from the article originally published in The New Statesman