Gender and Leadership

At the Founding of Thelbane, Swayville Barimen was the first King. And the Major Houses were Helgram, Sawall, Karm, Chanicut, Jesby and Hendrake, all ruled by his children, with only one of those children being a daughter. The Logrus was kept in check by his brother, Suhuy, and his other brother, Dworkin, founded the slightly less but still ancient Realm of Amber, to be ruled by his son Oberon.

Anybody detect a trend here?

And where does Thelbane lie now? Mandor is king, still a man. Very much a man, actually, if stories about his stellar return to the dating and courting game are to be believed. But then…

Our current crop of Major Houses is somewhat diminished. Nobody is exactly sure if Helgram is still a Thelbane House, and Mandor is unlikely to push that question any time soon. Which leaves Sawall, Chanicut, Victarion and Hendrake. Two ruled by men, two by women.

Then we look at the rumour mill, which is turning wildly on the question of what will be announced at the next Great Court. Up to six Houses could be newly raised to Major status. Some of those may be old Houses regaining lost glory. Others may be new young guns getting their first introduction to playing in the Major leagues. But this correspondent has it on quite good authority that five of the six who’s names are on the short list for greatness are ruled by women.

So we could end up with eleven Major Houses, seven of which are ruled by Duchesses instead of Dukes.

My question are this: Is this good or bad for Thelbane? Is this good or bad for Thelbane’s enemies?

Light blue touchpaper, and stand well back..


  1. So, let’s go with restatement for those who don’t have connections or have checked up on Thelbane.

    Personally, I believe that gender does play into things to an extent, but Personality (which Gender factors into)and other factors (such as House Tradition, finances, who you owe favours to etc.) are much greater factors in what is likely to happen.

    So, lets try to detail who will be in charge of these Houses and what they are like.

    Sawall: Mandor; Is he also Head of House as well as King (I guess so)

    Chanicut: Juno Chanicut; [Lydia; you know her better than I do. I’m not sure we’ve ever met.]

    Victarion: Victor Victarion; Affiliated Spec Ops person.

    Hendrake: Who’s in charge of Hendrake at present?

    So, who are the new Houses to possibly be elevated?

    Discordia: Lydia; Spec Ops person. Includes the refugees from Rebma.

    Karm: Duchess Diana Karm; Never met her.

    Hogarth: Duchess Aldreda Hogarth; From reputation, a tough woman.

    Baines: Duke Edgar Baines; Have seen him once.

    So; who are the other possible Houses?

    And what are their personalities or other factors that will factor into their decisions?

  2. Jurt is Duke of Sawall. Lintra is Duchess of Hendrake.

    Rather than make predictions, I will leave it to the prospective new Majors to announce themselves. Keep watch on the Mission Statements page. His majesty has required that every Major House have one. The candidates may be expected to produce something rather soon.

  3. Demosthenes,

    While the tradition of gender bias in Thelbane is an interesting one, especially considering the nature of Corneilians and shapeshifting; it seems likely that any change may be seen primarily in social or cultural effects, or perhaps some revision in House inheritance laws over time.

    In terms of wielding power, military prowess or traditional statesmanship there really is no valid gender based argument that can prefer one sex over the other for Corneilians. And, to the extent one might possibly offer one, there is no argument that cannot be overcome by a competent shapeshifter…in either direction, either temporarily or permanently.

    One could look at gender based paradigms regarding style of leadership; but even that is fluid. In most environments, the traditional style is often adopted even by the opposite gender as an effect of acculturation. This can be seen in male dominated cultures such as mundane military organizations where females adopt a male leadership style in order to gain acceptance or promotion. It can be seen in matrilinear cultures where men acculturate to the valued female gender norms.

    In terms of martial prowess or strategic thought, it would be a ridiculous mistake for Thelbane’s potential opponents to see a change in gender composition in House leadership to be an exploitable phenomenon.

    It may, however, represent a climate change that allows additional dialogue or permits novel diplomatic strategies to be entertained…but that remains to be seen.

    What is a potential issue is merely the interval of change and disruption caused by new Houses stepping up and the resulting confusion. An enemy might see that many newly elevated Houses and the resulting tumult as an exploitable opportunity. But, just as easily, it may be an opportunity to decline to embark on a military exploit because the shift in power structure may make it a lot easier and less expensive to obtain a diplomatic solution for a particular issue.

    Internally, the same argument is true. No doubt there will be some disappointment and frustration with the new structure in various quarters. Still, the new structure may present opportunities to resolve issues and remove roadblocks to progress that have existed for years. It may also end up with a strengthened Courts if the Houses have been promoted wisely.

    It seems less a gender based issue than an issue regarding a major structural shift in the power dynamic.

    Men and women are equally adept at exploiting those.

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