Eventual Gender Diversity - and how to get through the inevitable destruction of the patriarchy
I wrote an essay for the American Association of American Women’s Duluth branch (AAUW). And shortly after I sent it off to be added to their quarterly publication...
And an old mentor/colleague/supervisor from my college days emailed me this: “In the 21st century, women will change the nature of power, rather than power changing the nature of women.” - Bella Abzug
So I felt I ought to share it.
Here it goes:
Eventual Gender Diversity
and how to get through the inevitable destruction of the patriarchy
Fast forward to a world where 51% of all leadership positions are held by women. A representative democracy* of genders. Women’s voices are equitably expressed (and valued) in all permutations of culture: art, politics, journalism, bowling leagues...
Why is this an important place to reach? Why change? I hope these are rhetorical questions for you. So I’m going to simply generalize: The World Will Be Better For Us. Prophets even say: all world problems will be solved.
“Great,” you reply. Now, how do we get there? What’s between then and now? Complete and utter rebuilding of the systems in which we live. What does that mean? Apocalypse? Maybe. It’s not going to be easy. It will be uncomfortable. But if we maintain in the realm of comfort, nothing will change. We will never grow to see the ways in which we’re oppressed. We will never grow to see the ways in which our neighbors are oppressed. We will never know what to do differently.
What does that mean? Tangibly, we’ve already begun to experience this. Did you feel uncomfortable in the final months of 2017 when so many men were being exposed for their past sexual harassment? Were you hesitant to point the finger at them and ask them to leave their positions of power? This is partially due to our compliance with the patriarchy. It isn’t comfortable, or easy, to change. The period of transition between X and Z (Y) is a shitshow.
Where do we start? How can we help? We need to be activists through living by example. We need to not shy away from the awkward conversations about whether or not you support sexual assaulters regardless of their “mistakes”. We need to “lean in” to the cultural epoch we see in front of us. Hell, read some books on grief. Because that is what we’re doing - grieving the homey comfort of the culture we once knew, and shivering in the unheated hallway before our** new world begins. We need to huddle (for warmth) together. Let’s collectively adopt mantra meditation... Repeat after me: my female descendants will walk streets without molestation. My female descendants will climb career ladders without serving coffee.
How long will this take? Hard to say (I am not a predictor of futures). This is all going to get harder before it gets better. We’re steadily approaching that transitory “period Y” (yes, it’s true, we’re not even at the Inbetween yet... breathe deep... repeat the mantra). We’re at a tipping point to unseat the paternal rule. Yet this tipping point is one of many. The destination ahead has a long road before it, and we’re not going to love the soundtrack. (Unless you’re a sadistic feminist. More power to you.) I promise, though, that the destination will be worth it: the Equitable Diversity of Gender.
Buckle up, and don’t stop driving.
* Representative democracy would ideally equate to all permutations of feminist intersections.
** This will probably not be yours and mine. But it will happen. And our predecessors will be thankful***.
*** Predecessors, please don’t forget to build a couple statues. They better darn well be made by womxn artists.