Miriam-Webster defines feminism as:
- the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
- organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
Seeing millions of feminist around the world march to celebrate diversity and share a common vision was nothing short of amazing. They are saying it is was the biggest gathering to ever come together and I was proud to be part of such a historic day.
Since the election I have heard a lot of comments about the need for women to take over the world. Many people, myself included, are confident that women are the ones who can bring about the change of inclusivity and respect. I love this attitude! But, I don’t think everyone advocating the women’s movement appreciates the weight of their words. Politics is full of an unintended consequences and I believe that an unintended consequence of the 2016 Election is that “woman” is becoming synonymous with “liberal.” This line of thinking is not only damaging to the women’s movement, but also runs counter to feminism and what the marches on Saturday were all about. The feminist movement re-ignited last weekend cannot be about conservative versus liberal. It needs to be about women supporting women regardless of our differences.
Women make up 51 percent of the US population, but make up only 19 percent of Congress and 24 percent of statewide and legislative offices. These numbers plummet when talking about women of color and other minority groups. If we are going to get serious about solving the serious problems that face our communities then we have to get more women into leadership roles. To change our current situation we must have a process that allows us to hear from those whose opinions differ from ours. We don’t have to agree with each other, but we should at least understand and respect each other.
News Flash: women’s issues are human issues! Women care about the economy, healthcare, civil rights, safety and education. And when it comes to finding solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each of us want different things for our families and communities. If the feminist movement is going to be revitalized we must include all viewpoints.
There is a lot of research out there confirming the inclusivity women, regardless of their political persuasion, demonstrate as problems solvers. For women, the process of solving the problem is just as important as the solution to the problem itself. Alternately, men tend to put more emphasis on the efficiency and speed of solving the problem. In an article in the Huffington Post Ellen Malcom, founder of EMILYS List said “the ability to negotiate across party lines is one of the wonderful things about having female lawmakers…women cooperate and work together to create compromises that keep the government going in a positive direction.”
The march last Saturday was not just about women’s equality. The marchers also spoke out for racial and LBGTQ equality. They encouraged acceptance and tolerance for all religions. They urged us to protect the environment and make sure future generation have access to open lands. They pushed for fair working conditions for all. Quite simply, they discouraged violence and brutality and inspired love and acceptance. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres said “when you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds,” and that’s how we must approach today’s feminism if we are going to close the gender gap and find lasting political, economic and social equality.
So, you might be asking “what can I do to lead this new revolution?” I know from experience that it can seem overwhelming and hard to know where to start. The organizers or the Women’s March are launching a 10 Actions/100 Day Campaign. The first action is writing a letter to your US Representative or Senator. They give you step-by-step detailed instructions that are practical and unintimidating. If at any point along the way you have questions or are not sure what to do next then just leave a comment and ask! I am sure you will not be the only person thinking it and we all need stick together.
No matter where you come from you have something valuable to add to this conversation. Now, go say it!