Those of us lucky enough have had an environment that has supported us in the development and unfolding of our unique expression of ourselves and our needs. This has allowed us to thrive, while preserving our identity, personal freedoms and the rights to make our own choices and decisions. Often though, in playing roles of daughter, wife, mother, care-giver and nurturer, we have lost touch with our own needs, and who we really are.
Many of us need to undertake the journey back to self-discovery, to reconnect with who we are and to reclaim the discarded bits and pieces of our unique identity.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to review how far we have come as women, to appreciate the best of what is, to consider what could be and to decide on what should be.
This is an opportunity for each of us, as men and women, to decide to be the change that we want to see in the world. For me it is about questioning where we are as humanity and what we can all do to bring about positive change.
I attended the Melbourne event, "All About Women", live streamed from the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, on the topic of “What Needs to Change?” The diversity of the women panelist’s experiences illustrated some of these differences, and here are my key take-aways:
What needs to change?
- the disconnect from men to women and children
- the disconnect from our purpose; men and women need to reclaim themselves, to reconnect to their meaning and purpose in life
- the disconnect from our community
- violence in communities, family violence and violence against women and children. It was shocking to find out that even in this day and age, there are over 1,200 murdered women and children in Canada every year.
- the prevalence of jealousy as an underlying driver of violence against women
- the need to develop a more holistic view of men and women, to think collaboratively rather than following the role-based status-quo without question
- the disconnect to the land and the need to reclaim women as caretakers of mother earth
- violence of women to women, such as cultural practices of genital mutilation
- the need for women to stop bringing other women down; the need for women to act collaboratively to achieve change
- double standards and attitudes towards women running for powerful positions – tearing down the tall female poppies, from both men and other women (e.g. Julia Gillard)
- intersectional feminism; let’s stop assuming that feminism is all about white corporate women
- white corporate feminism; are we making assumptions that hurt other women? Not all women have the same experiences and goals. We have different definitions of success, let’s recognise this
- the assumption that you have to be loud and ego-driven to have impact and to achieve change
- change doesn’t come from being perfect; women need to focus on being brave, not perfect. Being brave means feeling the fear and doing it anyway
- change doesn’t come from staying within the status-quo boundaries; unless you take risks the system doesn’t change
- when we talk about children, let’s not lock in the assumption that childcare is a woman’s job; it takes parents and a community to raise a child
- women need to let go of the assumption of superiority on the home front and let men in
- let’s stop the gossip behind someone else’s back. A call by Tracy Bartram, the Melbourne MC, was to stand up for the person in their absence. Speak out, refuse to be a part of it and say “it’s against my politics and values!”
What is changing?
Women are increasingly pushing the barriers of change, and going outside of conventional methods if they cannot do it within conventional constraints.
- An example from Crystal Lameman: having the first female chief in her 70’s in her Native Indian community, who is gentle and humble and leads in a kind and loving way, removed from the ego-driven expectation of “entitlement and privilege” of a leadership role.
To sum up:
There is room for improvement! It is a good time to reflect and consider how we can each play a part in bringing about positive change. It is time to consider modifying the ego-driven power plays which lead to segmentation, violence and inequity. It is time to question the worshiping of beliefs that divide and disconnect and cause conflict between men, women and between humans as a species. We all belong to the one family of humankind and share this one earth. A lack of empathy lies at the heart of most injustices. Let’s think more collaboratively and appreciate each other for the diversity and unique qualities we all contribute.
What role can you play in being a part of the change that you want to see? Contact me to discuss what being a woman means to you and what you can do to bring more happiness, purpose and success into your life and career.
#allaboutwomen, #internationalwomensday, #lethershine, #women, #togetherwearestronger