Beyond Our Fractured Feminism

We’ve come a long way since Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1848 Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. Yet in the long view of human evolution and development, women’s liberties appear on the scene in a New York minute. For most of existence, women were protected by men. As a result, they were property of men, silenced by men, and worse.

we_can_do_itIn the United States, women were granted the simple right to vote less than 100 years ago (here’s a great timeline of women’s rights from the National Women’s History Project). Birth control became widely available in the 60’s. Title IX provided equality of education in the 70’s. While in Switzerland, women weren’t able to vote until 1980! And today, in many parts of the world, women continue to be abused and pushed aside.

In truth, there has never been a singular women’s movement. Women’s rights first emerged in the western world, but have slowly been given credence in other regions. Women all over the world have faced off against varied oppressors. The movement has witnessed peaks and valleys of second-wave, third-wave, and now a fourth-wave feminism. There’s liberal feminism, lesbian feminism, even ecofeminism – and what do you know, the word feminism was coined by a MAN! – 19th-century French philosopher Charles Fourier. We’ve been labeled, insulted, dissuaded, and beaten back. We’ve often disagreed, but that’s OK – disagreement spurs dialogue.

Remarkably, out of our disparate struggles and different experiences, arose the largest protest in U.S. history, the Women’s March – a passionate sea of more than 2.9 million men and women of diverse backgrounds gathered at sites around the world to send a message that we stand together for all rights!

And now it’s time to rise above the pussyhats, crude jokes, pop aphorisms, and biting criticism of the “other” side. This very radicalism is partly responsible for our deep divisions.

lady-justice-blindfolded_55d3389af74020f6

The feminist movement is not a power struggle; it is a platform for justice. Lady Justice embodies divine order and moral courage. She does not slander; she does not shout from a megaphone and make demands.

We should NOT sit back and accept catcalls and blatant disrespect, but it’s dramatic to say that we live in a rape culture. We live in a highly sexualized culture. And there’s wisdom in a measured response so that when a more severe one is needed it can be taken seriously.

The gender gap is real, but we have to stop and realize that women have only been in the workforce in significant numbers since the late 60’s/early 70’s. It is up to us to Lean In to leadership (for heaven’s sake more men named John run large companies than women). More female voices in leadership and governance around the world are essential in order to have true equality of opportunity.

In all pursuits, it’s important that we find ways to Thrive.

Our passion is unmatched. Our spirit is unassailable. Our time is now.

Nevertheless, as we persist: may we strive for impartiality in our judgements, generosity toward others and the past, and a steadfast commitment to justice.

After all, our rights are human rights!

With a Perspective

perspective

On a brisk morning, I jump into my car, reach first for the heat, and then for the radio. The KQED morning anchors are already droning on about the winter Fund drive interrupting my flow of news. Leaving from the Outer Sunset for Palo Alto with the ocean on my right, I decide to make the call.

“Thank you for calling KQED…”

Before the volunteer can go on, I launch into animated platitudes.

“I’m so grateful for KQED’s reporting, I listen every morning on my commute to stay informed, what you do is sooo important, now more than ever, especially in this era of post-fact journalism…” blah blah blah

The gruff voice on the other end quickly moves me along:
“Mam, how much would you like to pledge?”

Slightly annoyed, I give my information to become a Sustaining Member.

To my surprise, he asks…“Would you like to be transferred to a voicemail box to share how you feel about KQED?”

“Why yes! Yes, I would!” (As I think to myself – AHA! That’s how it works…)

onair-day-2

I arrive at the studio at 7:45 AM on a Saturday morning, greeted by fellow volunteers and toasted bagels.

Ken runs us through the script, the how-to. As May gives out prizes and updates us on our fundraising totals, the what’s what.

We’re “On Air”, in a live studio, many anxious first-time volunteers, and a few old hands, of ALL ages, from ALL over the Bay area – Fairfax, Dublin, Campbell, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose. Our callers are even more diverse and wide-ranging – from Sonoma, Davis, Pleasanton, Monterey, even Idaho!

We’re 16123854_173574143127304_3919436237768753152_n1united by a love of public radio, a desire to give, AND these most uncertain of times.

At breaks, volunteers share fears and concerns. We share our stories and hopes. Our callers share them too! Encouraged, we eagerly await the next call, and the chance to connect.

Matching challenges and bonus gifts heat up the phone lines. With the roar of activity, it’s difficult to hear, but easy to tell, we’re on a roll!

We close the day as the 2nd highest in Ken’s Fund drive experience with more than $70,000 in contributions!

The record, however, is clearly tied to this year’s election results – a heavy price to pay for our self-satisfaction!

Like never before, Americans are joining in, rising up, and making a difference together – for KQED, the ACLU, our National Parks, Planned Parenthood, and most importantly, for one another.

By standing up for our values, I only hope that we can counter the pervasive fear that now exists in order to reclaim what’s already been lost and triumph over what is yet to come.

With a Perspective, I’m Kat Walsch.

Love in Leadership

We’ve lost love in leadership.

More than anything, this profound loss is why inauguration day felt so dark for so many.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So, where do we go from here?

We, the people, must embrace love as our ultimate goal and personal responsibility. We must strive for a selfless love, an agape love that voluntarily suffers for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. A love that is unafraid. A love that will stand in the face of persecution.

Leading with love compels others to follow. And using your highest strength for the greatest good creates a virtuous cycle. Megan McDonough, CEO of the Wholebeing Institute, writes that loving leadership has one intention: to elevate and fill yourself and others.

We love great leaders because they grab us on an emotional level, transcending the ordinary, giving us hope. These leaders help us think beyond the world as it is, to imagine the world as it should be.

We are now the leaders. So, let us be servant leaders. Love leadership is the only thing that can sustain our shared success, as in John Hope Bryant’s Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World.

A word of warning: the fear of loss leads to misguided love.

Many feel a loss of country, voting to make it “great again”. It seems that the love of country, a new fervent nationalism, has risen out of grief. But are we to love the country itself, or the ideals and freedoms for which it stands?

I fear the consequence of seeking American profit and prosperity first, country above all else.  What will be the cost? Can we fulfill our national interests and remain a servant leader seeking liberty and justice for all, in the world?

Now is a time to be vigilant, lest our love be misguided. If we retreat to our proud corners, we will surely become a threat to self and others.

I am not a nationalist, but I remain a faithful patriot, full of hope in our American ideals. I stand ready, in love, to serve my fellow citizens.

We are ALL in this together!