Sunday, January 22, 2017

American Woman

I have had the blessing of being a female citizen of the United States for 47 years.  I consider myself fortunate on so many levels.  For twenty-six of those years, I have enjoyed a career in education. Every career has its criticisms.  But, in all, I am quite happy to call myself a teacher.  Spending my day with children is awesome, even on our worst days.

In those 47 years, I also consider myself a force. I am not an easy person to "handle" because I speak what needs to be spoken, and sometimes what does not want to be heard.  I have been a leader.  Others have been the sheep. No matter what I seem to do, leadership has fallen in my lap ever since my tween days. I accept that burden, as part of me enjoys it.  And the other part?  Well, it gets pretty pissed off at women who are A-OK with others having the uncomfortable conversations.

So, my Sisterhood of Women.  You marched.  You got out there.  You showed numbers and solidarity.  I could not be prouder. Now, how will you insure that you do not become sheep yet again, allowing a few to speak up while you silently agree? How will you make damn sure that the "Women's Movement" does not get labeled the "Planned Parenthood PAC," and PP does NOT represent the views of all women? How will you allow ALL women at the table, regardless of whether you agree with them or not? How will you make this about us and not just a show against President Trump's mouth?

How will you change your workplace?  Example, my career is dominated by females---except in the administrative positions. (Check out Where Are All the Women Superintendents?)  What about your workplace?

How will you empower young women?  When was the last time you volunteered at, not only your child's school, but any school?  Do you know if local schools have groups, like my school, that work to empower girls? When was the last time you spoke to your daughters about how they should treat other women?  How to rise up instead of tear down? Does your daughter leave your house knowing that you believe she is strong and capable, not just well-dressed and polite?

Do we teach our daughters that hate speech does not cancel hate speech? That empathetic listening and action are the keys to change? Or do we teach them to be female dogs when they are jealous or don't get their own way?  Better yet, what do our actions show them?

Yes, they might have at least one male boss who is threatened by their spirit, their brains, their leadership, and their ability to call him out when he needs it. And that person will do his best to be sure she does not get the positions she deserves.  And, alas, they might have female bosses who have the same characteristics. Are we sharing the reality with them?

Do we support one another? When a new mom comes back to work for the first time, do we comfort her?  Do we say, "OH MY GOSH, I KNOW what you are going through?!" Do we give help when we know a colleague was up all night with a sick child?

I have spent today wondering what is next.  I am praying the march wasn't a "We'll Show Him" movement, because guess what: HE DOES NOT CARE. Do not do things thinking that you will change his mind.  You won't.  He does not accept criticism, and he does not validate that the march was a reaction to his ill-spoken statements.  HE DOES NOT CARE.  We have to be agents of change for ourselves.

Let's go grass roots, ladies.  Keep the momentum going. The Civil Rights Movement was not just a march.  It was a revolution. It was day in and day out struggle. It continues to this day. March in your own territory. Change the portrait of the American Woman every day of your life.

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