In some ways it seems as if the women’s movement is moving forward at a rapid pace. Everywhere you look women are in the workforce and in positions of authority in ways we could have only dreamed…even 20 years ago. However, I think one thing our fellow entrepreneurial women need to gain strength and power from is that women’s equality is not new and women’s inequality is not a cultural given.
Women’s Equality Come Full Circle? What? What is that you say? When? Where?
Well…Check this out! Catal Huyuk is one of the oldest known cities, maybe the oldest, located in the fertile crescent. It dates back to between 8,000 -10,000 BCE. When they excavated it in the 1950s, they were shocked to find that they were worshiping a female deity. The heart of our culture stems from one worshiping the Divine Feminine. Pretty darn cool.
Then, there is the amazing story of research conducted on the Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. This famous male anthropologists, Bronislaw Malinowski (don’t you love that name?), goes there and comes back with a tome of information about their economic practices. At the heart of them, he said was an intricate system of yam growing and giving. Years later, Annette Weiner goes back and is shocked to find that Malinowski missed something huge….half of their economic system was female dependent. That is, women and men even had specific sorts of money. The men had yams, the women had banana leaf bundles. As it turned out, there were many things that you could only buy with banana leaf bundles. These awesome Island women controlled half of the wealth. What is more strange to you, that women controlled half of the wealth or that a famous cultural anthropologist so thoroughly missed it?
Somehow, for us Western women, things changed from the time of Catal Huyuk and culture-wide diefication. Patriarchy and misogyny ruled the school for centuries. We had to fight to even be able to vote for our elected officials. What a struggle it must have been for these heroes to pass the 19th amendment. I am in awe. Let that sink in for a moment, we couldn’t vote in our country until 1920. Our presence in the economic world was hard won. But have we won? From the ground, I have to say that I see places for continued advance and I see a lot of great things going on. Women are business owners. Women are not so easily ignored. We have a voice….many voices.
What Does the Future of Women’s Equality Look Like?
The verbiage made a shift. When this happens we have to understand this indicates a discourse shift. So, “women’s studies” at college is now called “gender studies”. See how that happens? “Women’s rights” has shifted towards “Gender rights” This shift began when feminists realized many women were left behind by their efforts. Women of color, lesbian, poor, and older women are just a few groups who still felt marginalized despite the advances made by white middle class women. The shift in language is an acceptance that if we demand certain things for ourselves, this also should be good for all people.
5 Little Ways of Moving Forward Women’s Equality In Your World
- Be inclusive in your rights outlook. If certain rights are good for you, they are also good for all women…heck, all people. The next logical extension is to include children in our quest for basic human rights. Keeping children free from emotional abuse. They deserve an equal measure of safety and security in which to flourish.
- Disabuse people of their labels. If you hear a woman being discussed in a negative fashion because of her gender, stick your neck out. I don’t allow certain derogatory terms in my home that demean women, no matter how innocuous they may seem. To that end, don’t call your daughters bossy while calling your sons leaders.
- Make and set boundaries. Traditionally, patriarchy and misogyny operated so easily by training women to have loose boundaries of respect, honor, and equality. Don’t allow it in your life and you not only teach the world how to treat you, but how to treat other women.
- Love yourself. This may sound corny, but what ought to scare the dickens out of misogynists is a conclave of women who self love and self nurture. You have power beyond what you acknowledge.
- Manifest your dreams. Your honest belief in your equality and your belief in your right to have all that others do creates a path of action that effects those around us. It changes your world.