It’s been awhile… The run-up to the Fall, 2016 election churned up so much topical material ~ richly relevant to The River Birch Project©. Yet, I made a conscious decision not to add to the din of what you’d receive in email. The rush of information, outrage and worry and lack of civil discourse was overwhelming and even though our programs focus on women and leadership, I chose to pause.
Today is International Women’s Day. We are all familiar with the statistics, and for women in management, Catalyst provides a look: http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-management. Today’s Women’s March and other actions are controversial for good reasons, as only certain women retain enough power to have the privilege to walk off their jobs. I believe that speaking up, marching, and taking a stand in public and private is important and a choice that can take many individual forms. Perhaps we can also look at our River Birch gatherings as a kind of circle of collective action where we strengthen our clarity and our responses in our own lives in service to others.
What’s on my mind today is about Speaking Up.
The 60’s/70’s women’s movement had a saying that the personal is political. I’ve been thinking about the subtle and not so subtle cultural power that keeps women from speaking up. It is a common theme in coaching women leaders: to have self-doubt and for that to impede grounded and impactful leadership. Men have self-doubt and it manifests in a different manner, but with women it often results in moving to the side-line, taking a side seat at the table or remaining quiet.
Some of the best writing about this, for the personal and public realm, is from Rebecca Solnit, http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15811.Rebecca_Solnit. Take a look at her book: “Men Explain Things To Me”, and check out her original blog post: https://www.guernicamag.com/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/
So, what is the appropriate response? How do we prepare ourselves for the long haul to respond effectively and in keeping with our values, and in a way that we can be heard (through the din)? I’ve wanted to Respond, instead of React, and take Response(able) Action. Part of that undoubtedly takes pausing and centering, listening and discerning.
In what ways have we all experienced, at the dining table and in the conference room, this phenomenon of: “having things explained to us”? In the many ways that this resonates for each of us, consider also the cultural and social underpinnings of power that leads to self-doubt and keeps us from bringing what we have to offer (and what the world needs) to the situation at hand. In what other ways do we not bring our full voice into the mix? This question and other aspects of finding voice, will inform the next River Birch Project© program, to be offered in Spring, 2017.
We will have two events:
Finding Voice / Speaking Up: What keeps women leaders from speaking up, and how do we recognize this and consistently find our voice?
Mentors and Mentoring: One person can make a difference!
Stay Tuned by watching this site.
Also, for something inspiring be sure to catch part of PBS’s American Masters Inspiring woman series: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/inspiring-woman/
In the meantime, Be Kind…but do not be Quiet.