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 can’t recall exactly the first time I saw it, but I do remember subscribing to it soon after it launched in 1972. I lived in Odessa TX, not exactly the bastion of feminism. But within the pages of Ms., I found women from all over the country saying what I’d been thinking. And I realized I wasn’t alone in feeling that something was terribly unfair about the way women were treated in society.
I also learned about the National Organization for Women from Ms. I joined as an at-large member and located the other five or six at-large members within a 100-mile radius.
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.
You met Lily Womble in last week’s She’s Doing It and learned that she attended the AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) international forum in Istanbul.
There, she recorded video interviews with a number of women from around the globe. Besides the two in this post (watch them to learn what the post title means), you can see more on Lily’s YouTube channel.
I’m a little biased about Jamia Wilson having had the pleasure of knowing her and working with her as we both went through several career transitions during the last decade.
She’s an inspiration to me because of her seamless commitment to social justice and her positive way of putting her ideas into action.
Her responses to my questions continue the series in which I ask people I interviewed for No Excuses what they’ve learned since then. You can connect with Jamia on Facebook and Twitter.
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?
Jamia Wilson: In the past year or so, I have learned so much about faith and perseverance. I have faced many triumphs and challenges during a transitional time in my life and have learned so much.
The rough edges and moments where I stared fear in the face taught me about the importance of courage and authenticity above all else. I have learned that I have the power to choose to be who I am authentically without apology and let that guide me towards realizing my dreams and my highest power.
As Janis Joplin said, “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got”. 2010-2011’s greatest gift to me was an appreciation for my own resilience and that to me is one of my most sacred superpowers.
GF: Was there a moment when you felt very powerful recently?
When I speak on college campuses, I score points with students when they find out I know Courtney Martin, author, among several books, of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and Do It Anyway. Though she’s the youngest of the four of us on the WomenGirlsLadies intergenerational feminist panel, she is usually the most together. The one who knows where we’re supposed to be when, gets the power point together, and remains calm when things go awry.
Follow Courtney @courtwrites and find her commentaries on The American Prospect and many other publications. Courtney is the Founding Director of the Solutions Journalism Network, along with New York Times columnist David Bornstein. In addition, she is the leader of the Op-Ed Project’s Public Voices Fellowship Program at Princeton University–coaching women academics to become part of public debate. She is a partner in Valenti Martin Media, a communications consulting firm focused on making social justice organizations more effective in movement building and making change and is an Editor Emeritus at Feministing.com.
Here’s what Courtney says she learned since I interviewed her for No Excuses:
Since a military junta grabbed power of the country in 1962, it has secured its power by rigging elections and suppressing opposition. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 of the last 20 years under house arrest after her party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming victory in the 1990 elections but was denied power. In November 2010 elections, Myanmar’s main military-backed party won in a vote again engineered to assure the military’s continued grip on power. The National League of Democracy boycotted this election and called it what it was—undemocratic.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi—who was released from house-arrest November of 2010—and her party, the National League for Democracy, have chosen to participate in elections this time around. On April 1 of this year, Suu Kyi and other pro-democratic candidates will run for 47 of the 48 open seats in Parliament.
Her campaign speech, which will appear on National TV, will mark the first time the Nobel Peace laureate has been given the opportunity to use state media to promote her party’s platform. She calls for amending the 2008 constitution,
“A woman has the right to mount the scaffold. She must possess equally the right to mount the rostrum [speaker's platform].”
Olympe de Gouges was an 18th Century French playwright and political activist way ahead of her time, and her feminist and abolitionist writings stirred political discourse in ways that presaged uprisings by women around the world last week.
De Gouges argued that the rights revolutionaries were attempting to expand for men should be extended to women as well. She passionately insisted upon universal suffrage, legal equality in marriage, women’s right to divorce in cases of abuse and her right to property and custody of her children, among other things. In her postscript, Gouges exhorted women to awaken to consciousness of their rights to embrace their power. She encouraged them to step up, take action and demand equality.
Yes, I made up “philactivist.” But what else do you call someone who combines philanthropy with political activism in a unique way, driven by her power of intention. Barbara Lee is one of the women I profiled in No Excuses because I so admire her drive, her vision, and her commitment to women’s advancement in politics. This continues my series of “She’s Doing It” columns in which I ask women what they have learned since I interviewed them.
Barbara Lee pictured with California Attorney General Kamala Harris
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?
Going to Girl Scout camp at age 12 was my first time away from home. I vividly recall the sound and smell of fresh pine needles crunching under my feet as I gathered twigs to build a fire to earn my campfire badge. I remember rubbing two sticks together for what seemed like forever and with each spark I learned more and more about the power of intention. I was determined to start that fire. It was the first step for me in knowing my own power. Ever since I have kindled my belief in myself and have used the power of intention to make the world a better place for women.
Barbara Lee: Was there a moment when you felt very powerful recently? If so, please describe the circumstances, what you did, and why you were aware of your power. Was there a moment when you felt powerless recently? If so, please describe the circumstances, what you did, and why you felt your lack of power.
This question intrigues people, but rarely does anyone have as clear and direct answer as Merle Hoffman, this week’s “She’s Doing It.” She seems to have been born knowing, and born quite willing to buck the norm of being the archetypical nice and compliant “good girl” in favor of getting done the things she believes are important.
Merle, the President and CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center, has recently published a memoir I highly recommend, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion Out of the Back Alley and Into the Boardroom.
Merle was kind enough to answer some questions about her life and times for 9 Ways:
Tell me your personal story…why and how did you come to be doing what you a doing?
I really fell into it serendipitously. My early years and adolescence were spent preparing to become a concert pianist. After I graduated from Music and Art, I also dabbled in painting and drama. When I finally decided to go to college at the age of 22, I need three part time jobs to pay for tuition—and one was with an internist , Dr. Martin Gold, for whom I worked as a medical assistant. At just this time (1970), abortion was decriminalized in New York which was three years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationally. Dr. Gold, one of the architects of HIP, wanted to start a service for women subscribers. I got involved in the beginning of this project and it has become my life’s work.
What motivates you? What’s your passion?
I am motivated by very deep feelings of responsibility which began with the first patient who came to Choices.
Wednesday, Oct. 2-Nov. 13, 2013Gloria will teach a 6-week online course "9 Practical Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career".This is a Take The Lead event in partnership with Arizona State University Online. Participants will receive a certificate to enhance their resumes along with practical skills and understanding of power dynamics in the workplace. Don't miss this opportunity and register today!