We decided to kick off our 2020 workshops to coincide with International Women’s Day. Not because that gave us a bit of a tag to add to our marketing but because we thought this years theme around “Collective Individualism” fitted in so well with our purpose. We are not the ocean, not even a wave, but individual droplets of water that together can be come powerful when we come together to create the wave. We are working towards a better future for all who live on our world; human, animal and plant, all the flora and fauna. And we can only do that through the power of Collective Individualism, each person doing their “thing” towards that future. Our way of contributing is in building self awareness, compassion, deep listening, releasing blocks, helping people get unstuck and allowing the raising of consciousness.
Joined by an amazing group of women we ranged from 19 to mid 60’s so we certainly had age diversity covered. What was quite clear was that in other ways we were not very diverse at all. Very much middle-class privileged white women. Our conversation quickly turned to the differences between Equality and Equity. The theme for 2020 IWD is #EachforEqual and consistently talks about gender equality, which fits really well with such concepts as equal pay for equal work, and equal representation but does not go far enough in looking at the impediments to reaching those goals.
We work a lot with people’s self belief and how our stories, our narratives, that we take as reality, hold us back from achieving the things we want to do and one of the equity issues is how our narratives get in the way of us taking up opportunities of equality. You are not going to go for that promotion, ask for that pay rise, apply for that grant, put in that proposal if the narrative you are running is that you you don’t deserve it, are not ready for it, are not “perfect” enough and won’t be heard/listened to anyway. How much harder is it then if you are marginalized even further by being a woman of colour, having a disability, lacking the educational opportunities that would have worked for you or strong cultural barriers.
And of course it is not our role, as privileged middle-class white women, to “solve” this problem for others, that is just perpetuating the narrative of “savior”, but it is up to us to raise our own level of awareness of how our individual actions can contribute to that better future for all of us (plants and animals included).
And maybe next year the group photo might look a little different.
PS. As one of the ancients in the group I was heartened by these younger women and feel that whilst we are only tending the sapling, the tree that will be around long after we are gone will be strong and flourishing.