Guest Post: Platform-Building for Women in the 21st Century

My good friend and colleague Jan Phillips wrote this for Huffington Post recently. When I read it, I was touched, moved and inspired to share it here. What’s disturbing is this pattern has been at play for what seems like centuries to hear it told. It’s time for a change and we are the ones.

Take it away Jan:

feminine-mystiqueFifty years ago, Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, sparked a women’s movement that rocked the world. It was about “the problem that has no name.” They didn’t know what to call it back then. But today, ask any woman if she’s ever felt silenced, and chances are she’ll say yes. Cultures have been silencing women for centuries, and as a result, women’s voices and creations are under-represented everywhere you look.

In the US, women make up 51 percent of the workforce and hold 16.1 percent of the board positions. While 85% of the nudes in a museum are apt to be female, only 5 percent of its artists are. Only 5 percent of the film directors in the U.S. are female. While women are 51 percent of the population, we hold 17 percent of the seats in Congress. Of the 500 largest corporations, 4.2 percent have a female CEO. Of those who’ve gained eminence in science and writing, 1 percent have been women.

In a recent study of male and female art students at the San Francisco Art Institute, the question was asked: Do you think of yourself as an artist? 67 percent of the women said no and 60 percent of the men said yes. When asked the question, in comparison to the work of others at the Institute, is your work particularly unique or good? 40 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women answered yes. And when asked In comparison to the work of others at the Institute, is your work inferior? the percentages were reversed: 40 percent of the women felt their work was inferior and 14 percent of the men agreed.

In a year long study from 2009-2010, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) examined every politically-themed book that The New York Times Book Review critiqued. FAIR reported that 95 percent of US authors reviewed in the publication were white, and 87 percent were male.

Doors are never going to just open up to a new reality for women. In order to create a culture that is balanced and fair, where the power and voices of women are equal to that of the men, then it is our job as women to make that happen. We are the suffragettes of our times, the ones who create the events that ignite the public and personal imagination, that free our creative powers, that cause another wave of energy and potential to wash over our world.

My Livingkindness Foundation is sponsoring an event to do just that. It is 3 day symposium for women to bring together art and activism, creativity and spirituality. All women are invited to come to the well, to feed their souls, to be inspired by the artistry, the genius, the social reach and impact of their fellow creators. It is a forum for all of us, no matter where we stand in relationship to the arts — for we are each other’s mirrors and witnesses. We are satellite dishes receiving each others’s signals and symbols.

Yesterday as I was explaining the event to someone, I described the feeling many of us have had upon hearing of someone’s success or achievement: “If she can, I can.” It’s like that, I said. We’re inspired by each other. The woman picked up on it right away and said, “Oh I get it: it’s an “If she can, we can weekend!” Exactly.

We’re giving $1000 Art & Activism awards to four women who have had a significant impact on American culture: Pulitzer nominee poet/ writer Linda Hogan, from the Chickasaw Nation, Grammy-winner Joanne Shenandoah, from the Iroquois Confederacy, and June Millington, co-founder of the first women’s rock and roll band in the country and her partner Ann Hackler who co-founded the Institute for Musical Arts which trains young women in the art and business of music-making.

Also appearing will be Inocente, a nineteen year old artist who lived as a homeless undocumented immigrant who found the arts both healing and redemptive. The documentary about her life, Inocente, won this year’s Academy Award for Documentary Short.

There are a variety of EVE talks (Expressing Values that are Evolutionary), salons in writing, photography, social networking, platform-building, crowdfunding, digital campaigns and art immersion experiences in photography, painting, movement, ritual and digital storytelling.

For more info, http://www.livingkindness.org/Livingkindness/Events.html

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Fierce Feminine Friday: 5 Mom Thought Leaders for Healthcare

Welcome to Fierce Feminine Friday. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for a while to showcase the Fierce Feminine women thought leaders who are out activating and making things happen. No time like the present, right?

So, I’m kicking it off with this guest post by Katie Matlack, who reached out to me, and actually made it through my inbox gauntlet ;-).  What I found so inspiring is that these are mothers, leading the edge of thinking,  making healthcare better for all of us.

Having spent the first 19 years of my work life in one of the top 15 academic healthcare systems in the U.S. I can resonate with what these moms are doing. It’s no easy task to navigate our American healthcare system, let alone be able to create a movement for change.

Take it away Katie:

Why Moms Who Blog, Tweet, and Share Matter for Healthcare

by Katie Matlack

Women are the more active gender on online social networks, and are the healthcare decisionmakers in most families, too. Taken together, these two facts help explain why women–moms in particular–often are responsible for using the web to bring powerful stories from the grassroots level to the world, effecting real change in healthcare.

To learn more about the topic I spoke with Deb Levine, a pioneer when it comes to using the web as a tool for social change related to health information access and technology. She founded the award-winning online sexual health Q&A site Go Ask Alice, and recently won an award from the White House for her team’s design of an app used to help prevent dating violence at colleges and universities. Levine, a mother of two, observed that being a mom “informs all of [her] work and writing” and is “an overarching influence” on her.

“Women who are mothers are writing about sensitive issues,” she continued. “[They] are the people who, in bringing health issues to the forefront, are pushing healthcare reform and access while also bringing attention to important issues like maternal mortality.”

Below, I’ll discuss five moms doing important work to improve healthcare and the tools available in health for the wellness of themselves and their families–and ultimately, of all of us.

1) Deb Levine – Trustworthy health information access for young adults
Follow Deb on Twitter: http://twitter.com/debisis

Levine built what’s known by many as the first major health Q&A site, Go Ask Alice; it was also named by Stanford University as the most accurate reproductive health info site on the Internet. The site’s success–it receives over 1.5 million hits per month–illustrates what Levine’s work showed us: that “topics considered to be shameful and embarrassing like sex are best discussed behind a screen–computer screen then, mobile phone and PDA today.” Today Levine directs a nonprofit, Internet Sexuality Information Services, and is organizing next month’s conference, Sex::Tech, on new media, youth, and sexual health.

2) Jodi Jacobson – Advocacy for public health and reproductive and sexual health & justice
Follow Jodi on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jljacobson

Visit RH Reality Check (RH stands for reproductive health) to get an idea of Jacobson’s impact. She’s the Editor-in-Chief there and writes regularly about news events that stand to impact reproductive health rights. For example, Jacobson was partially responsible for publicizing and drumming up outcry against the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s policy change in February that, were it not reversed, would have denied preventative health services to thousands of women. In addition to providing information directly to the masses on this site, Jacobsen frequently weighs in as an expert cited in mainstream publications including the Lancet and The Economist. She also founded and led the Center for Health and Gender Equity, an internationally-influential organization that produces cutting-edge research on international policies and programs.

3) Robin Strongin – Elimination of “gatekeepers” to drive disruptive change in the health sphere
The name of the blog Strongin created sums it up: Disruptive Women in Health Care. The blog’s been around since 2008 and serves as a platform for “provocative ideas, thoughts, and solutions in health.” Strongin realized that the health sphere needed input and direction from some outsiders in order to advance the pace of change. Today bloggers post on her site about underreported issues such as the surprising shortage of primary care physicians or the need for better incentives for mobile health in the U.S. Thus, the blog serves to amplify the voices of its contributors through its coverage in mainstream media outlets such as CBS.

4) Penelope Trunk – Creation of dialogue around miscarriage and working women’s health issues
Follow Penelope on Twitter: http://twitter.com/penelopetrunk

Trunk writes a popular blog about “the intersection between work and life” and regularly posts Tweets shared on her site as well. When she inadvertently created an uproar by tweeting about her own miscarriage, however, her influence on society’s acceptance and understanding of health issues was made clear, too. Major outlets such as ABC, CNN and AOL covered the reactions to the tweet, serving to shed light on the misplaced shame that sometimes complicates understanding and support of health issues.

5) Mary Brune – Connecting moms to information about toxic environmental risks

Brune’s work highlights important information that impacts infant health as well as environmental health conditions that touch us all. Her site, MOMS–which stands for “Making Our Milk Safe”–was founded to bring mothers together to collaborate for a healthier and safer environment for their children. It publicizes risks and protection measures on toxics, and has been featured in a PBS special on toxic toys.

 


Katie Matlack writes about health information technology and electronic health record system options for Software Advice. You can view the original article this story is based on here.

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Access the Wisdom of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

What is Wisdom?

From Wikipedia:

“A basic philosophical definition of wisdom is to make the best use of knowledge. The opposite of wisdom is folly.

The ancient Greeks considered wisdom to be an important virtue, personified as the goddesses Metis and Athena. To Socrates and Plato, philosophy was literally the love of Wisdom (philo-sophia). Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, defined wisdom as the understanding of causes, i.e. knowing why things are a certain way, which is deeper than merely knowing that things are a certain way.

In the Inuit tradition, developing wisdom was the aim of teaching. An Inuit Elder said that a person became wise when they could see what needed to be done and do it successfully without being told what to do.”

The 13 Grandmothers have come together in service to global healing at this critical moment in our evolution. Each of them represents prayer lineages from indigenous peoples around the world – carrying traditions from the Mayan people, Inuit, Amazon rainforest, Nepalese and others.

The members of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers will be offering guidance and wisdom for those who want to enter the mystery together, deepen their spiritual connection and, in doing so, help light our way forward. Collectively, they have spent more than 1,000 years learning the wisdom of their peoples and becoming some of the most respected Native elders in the world.

And now they are called to share with us what they know.

They are doing this through an online course called The Wisdom of the Grandmothers, and it’s being led by the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers themselves.

This is a rare opportunity to be part of this sacred circle and learn from these wise elders.

You can learn all of the details and sign up here:  The Wisdom of the Grandmothers

Warm regards,
Michelle

 

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Global Women’s Summit Los Angeles features Women Thought Leaders

I’m delighted to tell you about the GLOBAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT presented by the fastest growing global women’s network in the world – The WIN – this weekend in Los Angeles.

Thought Leaders Marianne Williamson, Riane Eisler, Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani, and leaders of international women’s networks will speak on how you can live your best life ~ personally, in your family, and in your business.

At the Summit you’ll network with women who are coming from all over the world because they attended a GLOBAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT in their country and now they’re joining with you to experience the BIGGEST GLOBAL WOMEN’S SUMMIT this year.

Next year The WIN will present 1,000 GWS in 152 countries!

When? Oct. 28 – 29; 9am to 5pm both days

Where? Renaissance LAX Airport Hotel, Los Angeles

Cost? $87 for two days; includes two lunches. ($67 one day; includes lunch)

See www.GlobalWomensSummits.com for details and to register.

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