I hope that in my lifetime it will not be necessary to set aside one month out of the year to recognize women’s achievements. I hope that women will be so entrenched in government and positions of leadership that young people will wonder how it could have been any other way. We have a long way to go to get there:
•Out of over 180 countries, only 11 have elected women heads of state.
•16% of members of national parliaments worldwide are women.
•In the current Congress, only 16% of seats are held by women.
•Rwanda has the highest proportion of women parliamentarians in the world – 49%
Earlier this month, a new group was formed to oversee the financing for a United Nations climate change effort and of its 19 members — none of them are women. This is particularly troubling since women are the primary providers of food, water and fuel in developing countries, and are thus significantly affected by climate change.
Traditionally we have valued strength, power, competition, exploration, initiative, and inventiveness, which are generally associated with male attributes. In doing so, we have neglected the more feminine characteristics of compassion, nurturing, and cooperation. One consequence is that while we figured out how to get energy from the earth, we have destroyed her in the process. There are many people who believe, me included, that our species has a much better chance at survival if there is a resurgence of feminine values to balance out the overly masculine traits that we have been exhibiting as a society.
It seems like Mother Nature may be trying to tell us the same thing…
It was published this month that research in 2007 showed that indigenous mothers living in the villages of northern Greenland were mainly giving birth to girls. The studies linked the dramatic decline of male births with human exposures to PCBs and other persistent organic chemicals.
A new study has found that male frogs exposed to the herbicide atrazine — one of the most common man-made chemicals found in U.S. waters — can make a startling developmental U-turn, becoming so completely female that they can mate and lay viable eggs.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) a toxin found in many can linings, and plastics, including – until recently – baby bottles, is a known endocrine disruptor, and can mimic estrogen and block some effects of testosterone, causing male infertility.
Obviously we don’t have much chance of survival if we all become female, so we need to embrace and honor the feminine and masculine inside each of us – men and women alike -and bring these energies into balance.
The emergence of the feminine is such an expansive topic that I can not hope to do it justice here, so if this has lit a spark for you, here are a few informative and inspirational sites, books, and movies to delve into:
Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women Save the World by Jean Shinoda Bolen
Grandmothers Counsel the World by Carole Schaffer
Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.
A Powerful Noise takes you inside the lives of three women – a girls’ education crusader from Mali, an HIV-positive widow from Vietnam, and a peacemaking survivor of the war in Bosnia – who each overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to bring lasting solutions to their communities.