That’s why women today who create media by producing, writing, and directing are of the utmost importance to creating the future of our choice.
Some women in leading roles on and off screen—like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, and Shonda Rhimes—use their writing to make women the protagonists of their stories. Their takes on what those roles mean to women and feminism, however, are quite diverse.
Malala Yousafzai is living proof that leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, genders, ethnicities, nationalities, and ages. We usually think of history being made by people with some years on them, but this courageous young woman demonstrates that anyone of any age can be a history maker.
In 2009, Yousafzai began sharing her stories under a pseudonym for the BBC. Yousafzai documented the drop in attendance of girls at her school after an increased concern over safety. Just after her blog ended, the Taliban temporarily banned women from going to jobs and to the market. In Pakistan her and her father received death threats in person, in newspapers, and online.
Despite the dangers associated with reaching out to press, Yousafzai continued to talk to media to advocate equal education. She could be the poster child for No Excuses Power Tool #8: employ every medium [link].
In 2012, the young activist was shot by members of the Taliban in the Swat district of Pakistan, while returning home from school. Yousafzai was targeted after being recognized in Pakistan for advocating education for all girls. Even though Yousafzai was shot at point blank range, she lived to tell the tale.
Look who picked me up. Come join us and tweet your opinions at the #InterGenFem tweet chat 1/31 at 2pm eastern. Read the details below:
Does it exist? Can we do a better job?
Why does working together across differences (generation is just one of many, including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability) matter for the cultural and political goals feminists are looking to achieve?
These conversations keep happening, and the idea for this TweetChat grew out of a great conversation that happened spontaneously on Twitter between @AndreaPlaid, @erintothemax, @ShelbyKnox, @StephHerold, @veronicaeye and @WentRogue. Along the way we picked up @GloriaFeldt and now we’re hoping to pick up YOU (yes, YOU are enthusiastically invited!) to join us for a broader conversation that is intended to be productive, solutions-oriented and totally helpful to your personal and professional endeavors to realize justice in this lifetime.
Some of the themes to discuss:
1. “Young feminism” – what does it mean?
2. Organizational feminism – what is and isn’t connecting with different age groups?
3. How does race and racial privilege intersect with intergenerational issues in the movement?
4. What is the unfinished business of feminism?
5. What does sharing power look like?
6. What can we all do to better support each other?
Is there more that needs to be discussed? Good. That’s another reason for you to join, so you can bring it up.
TweetChat is Thursday, Jan. 31. Use the hashtag #InterGenFem.
I met Juliet Asante through a most remarkable friend, Eva Haller. Eva can always be counted on to be surrounded by people who are doing amazing, significant things for others in this world, and Juliet is no exception. So I was thrilled when this media entrepreneur and activist, the founder of Eagle Productions Ltd, (an events and communications company; developing and aggregating content for multiple platforms; with operations in a number of African countries), agreed to answer a few questions.
I think you’ll be inspired and agree that Juliet is definitely a woman who is Doing It!
Gloria Feldt:When did you know you had the power to_____?
Juliet Asante: I knew I had the power to change my world and make a difference when I, (as an African girl, at a time when not many people dared) was able to raise money to start my first television show; having started out with only a cell phone and absolutely no money or guidance.
GF:Describe the moment or series of events that let you know you had the power to:
JA: My first major event on my path was getting the part in an HBO movie that starred Omar Epps. “Deadly Voyage,” a true story based in Africa, was auditioned for by the ‘best’ in the industry… and I got the role I auditioned for. This gave me the confirmation and credibility I needed at the time to explore my talents.
The second event I remember, was winning the writing competition to produce a road show for a product to Unilever, and producing this while in my final year of University in another city. I commuted for 8 hours between two cities in every 24 hours for my entire final year at school.
I felt powerful. I felt my mental limitations drop away. I remember feeling like I could do it and I could see the world opening up to me. I also felt that my path was going to be a one of resistance, as I had already begun to see that in many ways, but I knew I’d find the strength to move on. I just knew….
GF: Tell a little about your background, your family and how you grew up, and what led you to your current work.
And if a leader is someone who gets something done, then LisaBeth exemplifies leadership too. She uses the power of her artistry to make a difference for the causes she—and YOU—believe in. When you or I wear one of LisaBeth’s cause pins, we’re also using Power Tool # 6: Wear the Shirt –showing the world what we believe.
I’ll bet LisaBeth would love to know what you want on your pin, if she were to design one for you. So tell her in the comment section below.
How do I know Gloria? Our paths were destined to cross, and they finally did back in 2004 at a campaign event in Pennsylvania. Having defined a mission of making a difference in the world over 20 years ago, I’ve always channeled my core beliefs into my work. It seems inevitable that my creativity and mission would manifest into a line of handmade pins for causes that began with a pin about CHOICE.
As an artist and activist, I realized that an art-pin could be like a mini-billboard for people to ‘wear their heart on their lapel’, to spark conversation, and to effect change.
Over the years, I developed cause pins for politics and voting, peace and social justice, women’s rights, the environment, animal rescue, and more. The pins found their way to many non-profit organizations that have utilized them for fundraising and awareness.
Mitt Romney recently described contraception coverage and abortion rights as “shiny objects” used by Democrats to distract voters from “more important” issues. At a moment in which women’s reproductive rights are being dismissed by America’s Republican presidential hopeful, it is important for us to know our history! For me, the advent of the birth control pill accompanied a defining moment in which I realized my “power to.”
SUSAN TOLLES: Welcome to Flourish Over 50. I’m just so excited that you’re here, and I want to talk about your lifelong passion for really empowering women.
GLORIA FELDT: I first had to empower myself. I didn’t start out knowing much about this power stuff. I grew up in small towns in Texas in the 1940-50s, where girls were not encouraged to get an education, have a career, or have real aspirations for themselves. I mean, my family actually did expect me to get educated, but only in order to be a better mother, a better mate, etc. So I really didn’t start out thinking that I had power and agency myself; I grew thinking that the agency was outside of myself. I had to learn by trial-and-error along the way, and I am still learning it.
SUSAN TOLLES: Right, we all are. It’s always a work in progress.
GLORIA FELDT: It is a work in progress. So I’ll give you the real quick rundown of what happened: I was a teen mom; I got pregnant, married my high school sweetheart when I was 15. I had three children, bing-bing-bing, and then I was 20 years old. I think it was the combination of maturity and the advent of the birth control pill where I just woke up. That was one defining moment.
I realized two things: Firstly, I had three children, and although I had a husband who was earning a salary, I kept thinking, “What if I have to support these children?” I had no employable skills whatsoever. Secondly, I was starting to get a little bored and I realized that this life was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be. I, in fact, had a brain and I was eager to go to school.
And so, I finished high school by correspondence, and then the birth control pill came along. It was that defining moment that allowed me to see that I could create a life for myself. I could plan. If I wanted to have more children, I could have them by my own choice at whatever time I wanted to. But if I didn’t want to have more, then I had that option, and it meant I could go to college. I would say that was the first big defining moment for me. There were a series of other moments.
So I often ask people when I speak, “When did you know you had the power to _______?”
One of the best things about writing a book about women’s relationship with power is that I get to talk with so many interesting people about it. And since it seems that everyone is using my No Excuses Power Tool #8 – “Employ Every Medium” – by being the media these days, I have the opportunity to appear on many web-based radio shows, emanating from anywhere, and available for listening, often along with an accompanying blog post, at any time of the day or night. Media that simply could not have existed in years past.
EGG is a platform for executive women (both corporate and entrepreneurial). And it’s a ‘real world’ connection, not an electronic one, hosting a by invitation only conference call weekly, on Fridays from 4pm ET to 5:30pm ET. The website provides support to the group and allows the members to connect one on one, ask and answer questions, and to benefit from one another’s expertise.
I caught up with Chicke for our interview on her cell phone.
Not long ago I sat down with freelance writer Corine Garcia for this interview. The article originally appeared as a blog post at Womenetics.
Years ago, as a teenage mother without a college education, one could only imagine that Gloria Feldt felt somewhat limited in career options. But with the right amount of optimism, the proper use of power and her penchant for saying “Yes” to every opportunity, Feldt paved her way to leadership success as the former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Being an activist does not always mean being political. Recently, I served as the moderator for a panel of media innovators who discussed how wireless technology is bringing about social change.
It was exciting to explore the tools currently being used, invented and dreamed of to create a better world at CTIA Wireless 2012, the international wireless association conference in New Orleans. CTIA hosts this premiere industry conference for wireless, telecom and broadband as well as the key vertical markets that have entered into wireless. Forty thousand service providers, manufacturers, developers, retailers, enterprise end-users and media attend the conference.
The all-woman panel on “Wireless Activism”, presented by the Women’s Media Center, focused on how wireless tools are used by activists to create local and global transformation.
Are there generational differences in women’s relationship with power?
When I started writing No Excuses, I wanted to interview young women in their 20’s to learn about their relationships with power. Media relations professional and digital strategist Jen Nedeau, then 24, brought together several of her friends for a frank and far reaching conversation.
Jen, who seems to have been born knowing her power, blew me away with her poise, sense of balance, and that power of intention that many women of all ages need to be urged to pursue. See what I mean in her update—she must keep those power tools in her purse, because she uses them so proficiently to deal with the ups and downs of life. (As befitting a digital strategist, you can follow Jen on Twitter @JenNedeau.)
Gloria Feldt: In No Excuses, I asked, “When did you know you had the power to_____?” What have you learned about your power to ______ during the past year or so?
Jen Nedeau: When I spoke to you for the book, we talked about finding the “power source. ” For me, few experiences have been more profound in discovering my own source of power than the past three years I’ve spent in New York. Since moving here, I watched a company I once worked for go bankrupt, I’ve been robbed three times, lived with far too many random roommates and I had to stare down an army of cockroaches on a regular basis in my old apartment in the Lower East Side.
But if the company I worked for hadn’t gone bankrupt, I probably would not have started my own consultancy and secured a variety of clients in the arts, media and non-profit worlds—proving to myself that I could make it on my own—before taking a job with a major magazine publisher. After two years of living here, I was able to move out of my cramped apartment in the Lower East Side and into a studio apartment, which I am glad to say is thus far, free of Manhattan’s favorite pests.
All of these challenges, big and small, helped me learn that I have the power not only to survive life’s challenges, but succeed despite them. Now, at age 27, I can say that even a bit of struggle can reap big rewards. I am enjoying my life here, meeting amazing people and working on interesting projects, but more importantly, I know that no matter what happens, I have the ability to make it on my own. And independence, in any form, is one of the most empowering tools in the toolbox.
GF: Was there a moment when you felt very powerful recently? Was there a moment when you felt powerless?